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China beat Britain 3-0 to reach men's team semis at Rio Olympics
   2016-08-15 00:28:10    Xinhua      Web Editor: Huang Shan

Chinese table tennis team consisting of Ma Long, Zhang Jike and Xu Xin, have defeated Great Britain 3-0 in the mení»s quarterfinal at Rio Olympic Games on August 14, 2016. [Photo: Xinhua]

World team championships' semifinalists Britain managed to chop one game off each set from the invincible Chinese paddlers in their 3-0 loss in the men's team quarterfinals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on Sunday.

China's Ma Long saw his 23-year-old opponent Liam Pitchford rush to a 6-0 lead in the opening game.

Ma, however, later showed the true color of a world No. 1 and Grand Slam winner after the 11-6 opening game loss, breezing to take the second game 11-4.

He again stumbled in the following two games but twice overcame a two-point deficit of 9-7 to wrap up the set 6-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9.

The similar scene was repeated when world No. 3 Xu Xin took on the 26-year-old Paul Drinkhall, surrendering his first game 9-11 before coming back 11-6, 11-6, 11-7.

Xu, also 26, then teamed up with the only other active Grand Slam winner of men's table tennis Zhang Jike to overcome a late comeback of the British pair of Samuel Walker and Drinkhall 11-4, 11-7, 11-13, 11-4.

"Such a tough game!" said Xu Xin after the quarterfinal match. "But we had been prepared to meet even fiercer resistance."

"I think Britain are among the top three European teams and every player is strong , not like other frontrunners having just one or two elite players," he added.

Ma Long, however, said he's more pressured by himself rather than by his opponent. He said: "I could have been more comfortable against Liam if I had held my nerve."

"It's normal," commented China's head coach Liu Guoliang. "China keeping winning in the past decade doesn't mean we are unbeatable."

"In matches as important as the Olympic quarterfinals, every opponent is strong and has nothing to lose against Chinese. The pressure is unimaginable to us," he added.

Before their quarterfinal face-off with China, the trio of Britain battled past France in full sets and full games in Friday's first round.

"Britain are definitely dark horses of these Olympic Games," said Liu. "But we knew that and prepared quite thoroughly for today's encounter since they attended few Open tourney but have managed to reach semifinals in the world team championships earlier this year."

The Chinese men's team will next play South Korea en route to defending their Olympic team title after the London silver medalists denied a midway highlight performance from Mattias Karlsson to beat Sweden 3-1.

Later on Sunday afternoon, last Olympics' semifinalists Germany take on Austria and Japan meet Hong Kong, China in the remaining quarterfinals.

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