Japan upsets China in table tennis

Japan’s Mima Ito, left, and Jun Mizutani celebrate after winning the table tennis mixed doubles gold medal match against China’s Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 26, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

TOKYO (AP) — Japan ended China’s overwhelming dominance in table tennis by winning Olympic gold in mixed doubles in a major upset.

Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito beat a Chinese team that has often seemed unbeatable. China won all four gold medals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and the team of Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen was a heavy favorite this time.

Mizutani won bronze in singles in Rio and Ito is considered by some to be China’s biggest threat in the female ranks.

China won the first two games 11-5 and 11-7 but Japan took the next three 11-8, 11-9 and 11-9. China then won the sixth game 11-6 to set up a deciding seventh game which Japan dominated. The host country took an 8-0 lead and held on for an 11-6 victory.

China’s table tennis team is so strong that world champion Liu didn’t even make the women’s singles’ team and is only playing team events.

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