Japan men advance to semifinals at table tennis worlds


Japan’s men beat Hong Kong 3-1 in the quarterfinals of the World Team Table Tennis Championships on Friday, securing a medal for the fifth straight tournament.

Japan, ranked third in the world, was ahead after Jun Mizutani took the first match 13-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5 against Ho Kwan-kit. Maharu Yoshimura was on the cusp of a straight-sets defeat against Wong Chun-ting but clawed his way back to win the second match 6-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-5.

Tang Peng defeated Koki Niwa 11-5, 11-6, 11-2 to hand world No. 5 Hong Kong its first win, but Mizutani edged Wong in full sets 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11 to secure his team’s place in the semifinals.

Japan faces the England-France winner with a chance to earn its first final berth since 1977 in Birmingham, England.