USA Table Tennis

Aug 15 US, Japan stay in the running for bronze

Aug. 15, 2008, 12:31 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) The United States beat Romania 3-1 and Japan defeated Austria 3-0 on Friday for each team to stay in the running for a bronze medal in women's team table tennis.

"I think in the last match today we played really well, we withstood the pressure because we had to win this one," the U.S. team's Wang Chen said.

The Americans will play the loser of the South Korea-Singapore semifinal, and Japan will take on the loser of China-Hong Kong.

Wang, 34, and teammate Gao Jun, 39, are both retired members of the Chinese national squad who resurrected their careers after immigrating to the United States. Chinese-born Crystal Xi Huang, 29, rounds out the team.

Wang said the increased experience of the American squad wasn't a factor in the victory over the Romanians, whose oldest player, Iulia Necula, is only 22.

"Gao Jun and I are overall better players than them," she said. "(But) I think the young Romanians are very energetic, they keep beating top-ranked players, especially (Elizabeta) Samara, she played really well. I didn't control her well and lost that first match."

In the first-round bronze medal competition on the men's side, Hong Kong eliminated Taiwan and will go on to play the loser of the China-South Korea semifinal. Austria defeated Croatia and will play the loser of Japan-Germany.

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