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Fukuhara upsets 2nd seed Feng to make her first semis in Olympic table tennis

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-08-10 11:37

Fukuhara upsets 2nd seed Feng to make her first semis in Olympic table tennis

Ai Fukuhara of Japan celebrates after winning her match against Feng Tianwei of Singapore in their table tennis women's singles quarterfinals at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug 9, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

With the straight-set victory, Fukuhara kept her nation's hope for a women's singles medal alive in table tennis after Japan's top female paddler Kasumi Ishikawa crashed out in her opening match against DPR Korea's defender Kim Song I in Sunday's third round.

Fukuhara's best result in her previous three Olympic Games was to have reached the quarterfinals in London 2012 after twice exits from the fourth round.

"Olympic Games is every athlete's dream, something really special, and anything is possible on Olympic field," she said.

"Normally I could win once in 20 encounters against Feng Tianwei since she's just so good a player. But the atmosphere of playing in an Olympic Games match motivated me and I just gave all out after Ishikawa ousted," added Fukuhara.

She will play the sport's Grand Slam winner and defending champion Li Xiaoxia of China in her last 4 encounter on Wednesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, the 28-year-old Li proved herself too strong for Chinese Taipei's seventh seed Cheng I-Ching in another quarterfinal clash, ousting the world No 10 4-0 without breaking a sweat.

"It's not as easy as it seemed to be," said Li after trouncing Cheng 11-5, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6. "She's a tough opponent and I'd prepared to face a long and harsh resistance of six or even seven sets."

"I think the result is just a logical reward to my hard work and that of my whole team," added Li, who could announce her retirement from international table tennis after the Rio Olympics.

Cheng, however, burst into tears after the defeat, saying that she's so tired after Monday's schedule of two matches in a day, which was the same for Li. "I could not fall asleep last night," claimed Cheng in a post-match mixed zone.

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