Olympics-Table Tennis-Japan’s Mizutani and Ito clench first Olympic gold

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Table Tennis - Mixed Doubles - Gold medal match
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Table Tennis – Mixed Doubles – Gold medal match – Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium – Tokyo, Japan – July 26, 2021. Mima Ito of Japan and Jun Mizutani of Japan pump their fists as they react during their match against Xu Xin of China and Liu Shiwen of China

July 26, 2021

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s dynamic duo of Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito narrowly defeated long-invincible Chinese pair Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen to give the host country their first Olympic table tennis gold in the mixed doubles event on Monday.

Xu and Liu led after the first two games but Mizutani and Ito fought back with an 11-8 win in the third game.

The Japanese pair kept the momentum going to win 5-11 7-11 11-8 11-9 11-9 6-11 11-6.

For Mizutani and Ito, the 4-3 win over Xu and Liu was sweet revenge, having lost to the pair in the mixed doubles finals of the ITTF’s World Tour Grand Finals and World Tour Swedish Open in 2019 as well as the World Tour German Open a year later.

“We’ve been losing to China at the Olympic Games and at world tournaments but we were able to take a revenge on all that at the Tokyo Olympics,” Mizutani told reporters.

“I feel like I’m in a dream, that’s how happy I am.”

In the bronze-medal match, world No.1 mixed doubles pair Lin Yun Ju and Cheng I Ching of Taiwan had a 4-0 clean-sweep win against French duo Emmanuel Lebesson and Yuan Jia Nan.

(Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu, editing by Pritha Sarkar, Hugh Lawson and Clare Fallon)