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July 26, 2021

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Paddlers Xu, Liu in mixed doubles semis

China’s powerful pairing of Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen said they will take a nap after winning their mixed doubles table tennis quarterfinals yesterday.

World No. 2 Xu and reigning world champion Liu sealed a convincing 4-0 victory over Romanian opponents Ovidiu Ionescu and Bernadette Szocs.

The Chinese duo will next face French pair Emmanuel Lebesson and Yuan Jia Nan, who clinched their semifinal place in a heated battle with Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem of Hong Kong.

“I’ll take a nap and analyze videos of our opponents’ plays to prepare for the match in the afternoon,” Xu said.

The mixed doubles made its Olympic debut this year at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, with 16 pairs competing for the first Olympic gold in best-of-seven matches.

Japan’s Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito hugged each other and cried after beating German opponents. Mizutani, 32, and 20-year-old Ito got off to a strong start against Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja to take the first game 11-8 but the Germans fought back to level the match at 3-3.

With a pat on the back from her partner in the last point of the deciding seventh game, Ito secured victory with an unreturnable serve.

The Japanese pair are from the same hometown and have known each other since childhood. “Mizutani has been like a big brother to me since we were young, and someone whom I respect and admire. I’m really happy to be able to compete in the mixed doubles with him,” Ito told reporters.

In the second round of the women’s singles event, South Korean teenager Shin Yubin beat Luxembourg’s Ni Xia Lian 4-3. At 58, Ni is the oldest player and competing in her fifth Olympics.


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