• Kyodo


Japan downed Sweden 3-1 to advance to the semifinals of the table tennis men's team competition at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.

Koki Niwa and Tomokazu Harimoto put Japan on its way by beating Kristian Karlsson and Anton Kaellberg 11-8, 13-11, 8-11, 11-9 in the opening doubles match at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Veteran Jun Mizutani conceded Japan's first game of the team event when he lost 11-3, 11-9, 10-12, 11-8 to Mattias Falck, but Harimoto rallied to beat Kaellberg 10-12, 11-9, 11-9, 12-10 and restore the host nation's advantage.

"(Playing in the third match) is a crucial role in the team event. I just wanted to win the game at any cost," said Harimoto, the world No. 4.

Mixed doubles gold medalist Mizutani said, "We won the match even though I lost and that is Japan's strength.

"Hopefully I can make a contribution (in the semifinals) tomorrow."

Niwa put the match to bed in the third singles match, overpowering Falck 12-10, 11-5, 11-6.

"We were leading the match 2-1 when it came to my turn (in the singles) so I was determined to win, knowing that if I did we would win the match."

Japan will face Germany in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Japan's Mima Ito, Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano take on Hong Kong in the women's team semifinals Tuesday evening.

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