Led by veteran Jun Mizutani, Japan got off to a winning start in the table tennis men's team competition on Monday, easing to a 3-0 win over Australia at the Tokyo Games.
Mizutani and Koki Niwa defeated Hu Heming and Yan Xin 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 in the opening doubles at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. Tomokazu Harimoto and Mizutani then won their respective singles matches to send Japan into the quarterfinals.
Harimoto, who made a surprise early exit in men's singles last week, beat David Powell 11-4, 11-9, 11-7 and mixed doubles champion Mizutani completed the rout with an 11-4, 11-1, 11-9 demolition of Yan.
"We won every match in straight games so it was a really good start for us," said Mizutani, 32, who made history last week as he and Mima Ito gave Japan its first-ever Olympic table tennis gold in the mixed doubles.
"I want to savor each and every point (in the team event). Hopefully, we can stick together and knock out our next opponents."
Harimoto, the world No. 4, said he hopes to make amends in the team event after losing on his Olympic debut in the round of 16 to Slovenia's Darko Jorgic.
"I want to produce the form I was unable to show in the singles," said the 18-year-old. "It's going to get harder in the next round and hopefully we can raise our game."
Niwa, 26, also lost in the round of 16 in the men's competition.
"The singles are over now and I have regrouped. I'll give it my best shot for the team event."
Japan will play either Sweden or the United States in the last eight on Tuesday.
The Japan women's team of Mima Ito, Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano take on Taiwan later on Monday in the quarterfinals.
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