China women paddlers beat Japan for 4th consecutive Olympic table tennis team gold

TOKYO, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- China's women table tennis squad outclassed their arch-rivals Japan 3-0 to win the Olympic title for the fourth straight time at Tokyo 2020 here on Thursday.

China's Chen Meng and Wang Manyu (R) play against Japan's Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano in the first match of the women's table tennis team final on Aug. 5, 2021, at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. (Photo: CFP)

The victory at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium has extended China's record against Japan to 16 straight wins, and made the all-time leading outfit the only one with a title-winning feat since the team event was introduced to the Olympic program in 2008.

This silver is also the third Olympic medal for the Japanese women's team, after silver in 2012 and bronze in 2016.

Chen Meng and Wang Manyu gave China a morale-boosting start in the doubles match, rallying past Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7.

Despite losing an intense first set, Chen and Wang regained their momentum from there, largely thanks to their precision in long rallies and better connection.

"Our opponents gave us a lot of pressure at the start. We made full preparation for it, but came into this match a little bit slow," admitted Wang. "After the score was tied at 8-all in the third set and we took this one, it was quite crucial to our win as we gained momentum from there."

In a repeat of the women's singles semifinals, China's Sun Yingsha once again emerged the winner against Mima Ito in a much-awaited clash between the two hopefuls 11-8, 11-5, 3-11, 11-3.

"I prepared well for the challenges when taking on Ito again. I felt she had a better mindset today, and was always trying to change her tactics," said Sun.

Wang, in place of reigning world champion Liu Shiwen before the team event kicked off, stepped on the court again in the third match, before whitewashing Hirano 11-5, 11-9, 11-3.

"After the doubles match, I felt that my momentum was there. Coming into the singles match, I just wanted to enjoy it," recalled Wang.

Earlier in the day, China's Hong Kong claimed a bronze medal after upsetting Germany 3-1, its first Olympic medal in the team event.