• Kyodo

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Japan’s women advanced to the semifinals of the World Team Table Tennis Championships on Thursday with a 3-0 victory over Ukraine.

After wins by Mima Ito, Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano in the quarterfinals, Japan booked a meeting with the united Korean team in the final four on Friday.

Ito claimed a 3-2 victory over Margaryta Pesotska to get Japan off to a positive start, despite needing the full five games. Ishikawa stepped up next to defeat Tetyana Bilenko 3-0 and Hirano also won 3-0 in her matchup with Ganna Gaponova.

“My performance today wasn’t so good, so I need to refresh myself. I think I should take more risks,” Ito said.

The Japan women have not suffered a single loss at the April 29-May 6 tournament at Halmstad Arena.

Female athletes from North and South Korea were slated to meet in Thursday’s quarterfinals, but the two teams decided to form a united team and take an automatic spot in the semifinals. China and Hong Kong meet in the other tie.

In the men’s competition, the Japanese trio of Tomokazu Harimoto, Jun Mizutani and Koki Niwa defeated Hong Kong 3-0. Japan will face South Korea in Friday’s quarterfinals.

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