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China's women march on but who will join them?
Updated: 2004-03-04 10:26

The third day's action in the world table tennis team championships saw a tense last minute scramble for tickets for the knockout phase of the competition.

Wang Nan (pictured) helped China's women team defeat Singapore in the world table-tennis team championships.[AFP]
China's women continued their serene journey to a sixth consecutive title with another whitewash, the top seeds meting out the same punishment to Singapore as they had done earlier in the week to Taiwan, Russia and Germany.

China head Group A with South Korea, who also boast an unbeaten record, lying second after dropping a couple of games.

The top two clash in the final series of round robin matches later Wednesday.

The Koreans looked in good shape against Taiwan, with Kim Kyung Ah setting up their 3-1 win by defeating Lu Yun-Feng before returning to seal victory with a straightforward win over Hung I-Hua.

Hong Kong head Group B after extending their win record to four from four with a 3-0 defeat of Romania. The second seeds could be joined in the knockout stages by Japan, who thumped Belarus 3-0 to go second ahead of Romania and Hungary.

The winners of each group meet in the first knockout match, with the winner securing a place in Saturday's final.

The loser of that game will play the winner of a head-to-head between the group runners-up in a one-off semi-final for the other final ticket.

Anyone believing China take their dominance for granted was set right by Wang Nan.

After beating Singapore's Zhang Xue Ling in straight sets the world and Olympic titleholder said: "There's definitely no room for complacency in the Chinese team - it's not allowed."

She added: "There's a different kind of pressure when you play in an individual tournament - in a team event like these championships the pressure is greater."

While China and the Koreans have their Group wrapped up Japan will be desperately hoping to beat Hong Kong later Wednesday to secure the all important runners-up berth in Group B.

Among the men who were also due at the tables in this desert state on the Gulf Wednesday the womens' standings are replicated with China and South Korea the favourites to finish first and second in Group A.

But in Group B it is Germany, led by world number 10 Timo Boll, who are the surprise leaders on six points ahead of Taiwan and Sweden.

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