Taiwan’s men’s table tennis team yesterday swept aside Croatia 3-0 to secure a spot in the quarter-finals.
Olympic veteran Chuang Chih-yuan and Chen Chien-an led the team off to a good start in the first doubles match, beating Croatia’s Frane Tomislav Kojic and Andrej Gacina 3-2.
Lin Yun-ju, Taiwan’s Olympic mixed doubles bronze medalist, relayed the momentum of a strong start into a 3-0 win over Tomislav Pucar, with Chuang wrapping up the tie by the same score in his one-on-one match against Gacina.
Elsewhere, the Serbian men’s team were knocked out by Brazilian paddlers Vitor Ishiy, Gustavo Tsuboi and Hugo Calderano in a heated 3-2 defeat.
In the women’s event, the Chinese women’s table tennis trio of Chen Meng, Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu beat Austria’s Liu Jia, Liu Yuan and Sofia Polcanova 3-0 to advance to the quarter-finals.
Women’s singles silver medallist Sun joined forces with Wang to crush Liu Jia and Liu Yuan in the doubles match, with the Austrians unable to win a single set.
“I was very excited. It was emotional. Overall I think we were pretty good today,” Wang said.
World No. 1 and new Olympic singles champion Chen then faced off against Austrian paddler Polcanova in a 3-0 win, followed by another individual match, where Wang shut down her opponent, Liu Yuan, by the same score.
The Chinese team initially included the 2016 Olympics team champion Liu Shiwen, one of the duo who lost to Japan in the mixed doubles final earlier this week.
However, she withdrew yesterday and was replaced by world No. 4 Wang, who is participating at her first Olympics as a reserve player.
“Liu Shiwen suffered an injury after the mixed doubles,” China coach Li Sun said, while the International Table Tennis Federation said that it was a recurring elbow injury.
China has been undefeated in the team events since it was introduced in 2008.
Singles champion Chen said that she had switched her focus to the final event in the sport immediately after the singles was over.
“There were some ups-and-downs in the atmosphere, with the gold medal win in the singles and a loss in the mixed doubles. I think another gold medal for the team event is important. It would be the highest honor, really important,” Li said.
US Open champion Emma Raducanu’s grandmother Niculina Raducanu wanted her to quit tennis because of concern about the teen’s health after breathing difficulties forced her to retire from Wimbledon this year. The 88-year-old Romanian told the Daily Mail that her granddaughter’s “health is more important” than wealth or fame. Fortunately for the 18-year-old Briton, neither her father, Ian Raducanu — Niculina Raducanu’s son — nor her Chinese mother, Renee Raducanu, took the advice and she swept through the US Open to become the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title. Niculina Raducanu — known to Emma as “Mamiya,” a Romanian term of
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