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Chinese pair breeze through to table tennis semifinals

from:正北方网2012-08-01 15:21

LONDON, July 31 (Xinhua) -- The top two seeds in the Olympic women's table tennis singles progressed to the semifinals without great difficulty at ExCel on Tuesday.

No. 1 seed Ding Ning of China beat Japanese star Ai Fukuhara 4-0, while No. 2 seeded Chinese Li Xiaoxia defeated the Netherland's Li Jiao 4-0.

Fukuhara had four set points at the beginning, but Ding remained composed to take the first set 15-13.

Fired up by the first-set win, Ding played more smoothly in the following sets, beating Fukuhara 15-13, 11-6, 11-6, 11-4.

"I lost several points, but I caught up and was back to be in control. I have imagined being in this situation, so I was prepared. I kept myself under control mentally," Ding said briefly after the match.

Fukuhara, competing in her third Olympic Games, said she would have had better chance if she had won the first set. "I had a chance in the first set and I missed it. But what can you do? Ding is tough," she said.

Holding back her tears, 23-year-old Fukuhara said her teammate held her tightly and consoled her after the match. "I must try my best and play well in the team event," she said.

Born in 1990, Ding won the women's singles title at both last year's World Championships and the World Cup. Ranked world No. 1, she is seen as China's best shot at gold in women's singles in London.

Fukuhara, world No. 7, has been playing table tennis in China from a very young age. She speaks fluent Chinese with a northeastern accent.

No. 2 seed Li Xiaoxia did not encounter much resistance in her match, finishing off Li Jiao in 39 minuets.

In the other quarterfinals, 19-year-old Japanese Kasumi Ishikawa defeated Singapore's Wang Yue Gu 4-1 and Feng Tianwei of Singapore knocked out South Korea's Kim Kyung-Ah 4-2.

The semifinals on Tuesday afternoon feature Ding vs Feng and Ishikawa against Li. 

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