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Japan’s Ai Fujinuma and Aya Umemura reached the quarterfinals after a fourth-round victory Monday over a Hong Kong pair in the women’s doubles at the Athens Olympics table tennis tournaments.

Seventh-seeded Fujinuma and Umemura, who received a bye in the earlier rounds, beat Lau Sui Fei and Lin Ling 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 11-7 to take a step toward becoming the first Japanese Olympic semifinalists in the event in 16 years.

On Tuesday, Fukuhara romped into the fourth round of the singles after a quick-fire 4-0 win over 10th-seed Jun Gao of the United States.

The 15-year-old Fukuhara dominated the match from start to finish at Galatsi Olympic Hall, taking just 20 minutes to book her place in the last 16 with a stunning 11-3, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 victory.

Fukuhara, affectionately known as “Ai chan” said she expected a tougher match from Gao, a doubles world champion in 1991 and silver medalist at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 who joined the U.S. national team from China in 1996.

“My opponent is a seeded player, so I expected her to be a lot better than she was,” said Fukuhara.

In the men’s singles, veteran Koji Matsushita eased into the third round with a straight-sets win, while Akira Kito and Toshio Tasaki came back from two games down to win their second-round match.

Matsushita needed just 30 minutes to beat Danny Heister of the Netherlands 11-7, 11-7, 11-8, 11-4 in the second round.

Kito and Tasaki came back from two games down to beat local favorites Panagiotis Gionis and Kalinikos Kreanga 9-11, 6-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 13-11, 11-4 in a match attended by Greek Olympic celebrities, including chief Olympics organizer Gianna Angelopoulos.

Archer advances

ATHENS (Kyodo) Veteran Japanese archer Hiroshi Yamamoto, looking for his first Olympic medal in two decades, defeated Franck Fisseux of France 155-147 in the men’s individual archery eliminations Monday to advance to the second round at the Athens Games.

Compatriot Takaharu Furukawa, who at 20 is the youngest on Japan’s archery team in Athens, scraped through to the round of 32 after beating Chinese Yong Fujun 146-143 at Panathinaiko Stadium, the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

“I was able to read the winds completely,” said the 41-year-old Yamamoto, the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic bronze medalist making his fifth Games appearance. “I could concentrate well for the first time in quite some time.”

Two-time Olympian Yuji Hamano failed to advance past the first round, losing 155-150 to Satyadev Prasad of India.

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