Table tennis: China get past Germany, Korea for finals
LONDON (Reuters) - China are two wins away from another clean-sweep of Olympic table tennis golds at London 2012 after their men's team won a hard-fought game over Germany and their women cruised past South Korea.
The men will take on second seeds South Korea, who disposed of Hong Kong 3-0 in Monday's second semi-final.
The women on Tuesday will meet Japan's youthful, attacking team, who secured their first Olympic table tennis medal on Sunday.
China are red-hot favorites in both events, but Germany's men gave them their toughest match of the tournament, prompting an agitated response by coach Liu Guiliang at courtside. The game was a rematch of the Beijing 2008 final.
Timo Boll, Europe's top-ranked player, beat singles gold medalist Zhang Jike, but China still came through 3-1.
"When it got to one match all, we didn't panic," said Zhang, adding ominously: "I feel we're getting better and better."
German coach Jorg Rosskopf said: "Always against the Chinese you get a small, small chance, but it is a long, long way to beat them. We now focus on the bronze match."
South Korea swept past Hong Kong led by Ryu Seung-min, their 2004 Olympic singles champion, who also won his singles encounter.
China's women thumped South Korea 3-0, but they are expecting a far tougher fight against Japan, who many people are tipping to pose a strong challenge to China's dominance - if not in London, then at Rio 2016. Continued...