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Li Xiaoxia beats off Fukuhara for straight second women's singles final in Olympics

( Updated: 2016-08-10 22:31

Li Xiaoxia beats off Fukuhara for straight second women's singles final in Olympics

Li Xiaoxia of China?reacts during?her Women's Singles table tennis semifinal?against Ai Fukuhara?of Japan?in the Rio Olympics,?Aug 10, 2016.??[Photo/Xinhua]

RIO DE JANEIRO - Defending champion Li Xiaoxia went one step closer to make history as the third seed here made short work of Ai Fukuhara on Wednesday morning to book a place in the Rio Olympic table tennis women' s singles final.

There' s no paddler in the sport' s 28-year history as one of the Olympic Games program to have won back-to-back individual championship.

Li beat Fukuhara in straight sets, 11-4, 11-3, 11-1, 11-1.

Leading 9-1 into the first set, the 28-year-old Li denied a late comeback from the sixth-seeded Japanese to win 11-4, before improving it to 2-0 on sets.

Kong Linghui, head coach of the Chinese women' s table tennis team as well as a Grand Slam winner himself, called a timeout for Li when she Led 2-0 and 4-1 in the third set, before the women' s Slam winner came back to the court and just let her opponent win a single score.

Later on Wednesday morning, the other women' s singles semifinal will pit twice world champion Ding Ning of China and DPR Korea' s defensive player Kim Song-I as the final and the third-place play-off are scheduled in the evening.

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