Sheer drama was the order of proceedings at the start of the second day of play, Sunday 25th July, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The mixed doubles ignited the Metropolitan Gymnasium.
Eventually, China Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen prevailed as did the host nation’s Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito; likewise, it was success for Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching but for Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem it was defeat.
Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito, the no.2 seeds, succeeded in one of the closest contests on record in the history of table tennis at the Olympic Games, by the very narrowest of margins they overcame Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja, the no.7 seeds (11-8, 5-11, 3-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-8, 16-14).
Similarly, it was a titanic duel between the French pairing of Emmanuel Lebesson and Yuan Jianan, the no.8 seeds when facing Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem, the no.4 seeds. The minimal two point margin was the order of the day in the vital deciding seventh game (11-3, 6-11, 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11).
The performance of the Europeans was beyond expectations, at the recent Liebherr 2020 European Individual Championships staged earlier this year in late June in Warsaw, both pairs had experienced earlier than anticipated defeats.
Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja had experienced a quarter-final defeat at French hands, losing to Simon Gauzy and Prithika Pavade (11-9, 12-10, 12-10); one round later Emmanuel Lebesson and Yuan Jianan lost to Germany’s Qiu Dang and Nina Mittelham (14-12, 11-7, 4-11, 5-11, 13-11).
Dramatic contests; for Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen, as well as for Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching, life was less dramatic.
Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen, the top seeds, beat Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu and Bernadette Szocs, the no.9 seeds (11-6, 11-1, 11-6, 12-10), Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching, the no.3 seeds, overcame Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee, the no.6 seeds (7-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7).
Mixed doubles: semi-finals
Sunday 25th July
20:00 Xu Xin / Liu Shiwen (CHN) v Emmanuel Lebesson / Yuan Jia Nan (FRA)
21:00 Lin Yun Ju / Cheng I-Ching (TPE) v Jun Mizutani / Mima Ito (JPN)