S. Korea loses in bronze medal match in men’s team table tennis

August 17, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 17 (Yonhap) — South Korea finished just shy of a medal in the men’s table tennis team event at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Wednesday.

Germany defeated South Korea 3-1 in the bronze medal contest at Riocentro-Pavilion 3, taking two singles and one doubles match. South Korea claimed one singles match.

The men’s team held South Korea’s last hope for a medal in Rio, with all the singles players and the women’s team having failed to deliver.

This marks the first time South Korea has failed to win a medal in table tennis, which joined the Olympics in 1988.

South Korean table tennis player Jeoung Young-sik returns a shot during the men's team bronze medal match against Germany at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Aug. 17, 2016.

South Korean table tennis player Jeoung Young-sik returns a shot during the men’s team bronze medal match against Germany at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Aug. 17, 2016.

Jeoung Young-sik, world No. 12, beat the 24th-ranked Bastian Steger in the taut opening singles match 3-2 (12-10, 6-11, 11-6, 6-11, 13-11).

Jeoung saw a 9-7 turned into a 10-9 deficit in the first game, but fought back to take it 12-10.

It was Steger’s turn to build an early lead in the second game, and the German stayed in front throughout and won it 11-6. Jeoung returned the favor in the third game, going up 9-2 on the strength of six consecutive points and taking the frame 11-6.

Steger claimed the fourth game 11-6, surviving two long rallies in the process.

It was back-and-forth again in the decisive fifth set. Down 8-7, Steger stormed back to take a 10-8 lead. But Jeoung refused to go away and saved two match points for a 10-10 tie.

Steger held his third match point at 11-10, but the relentless South Korean scored three points in a row to finish off the match.

In the next singles, Dimitrij Ovtcharov beat Joo Sae-hyuk 3-2 (11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 2-11, 11-6), and tied the match at 1-1 for Germany.

Ovtcharov took the opening game easily 11-5. Joo fought for every point in the next game, but at 9-9, the German got the last two points to take a 2-0 lead.

Joo battled back to take the next game 11-8, his sharp returns leading to Ovtcharov’s mistakes. The South Korean veteran kept up the momentum and took the fourth game 11-2 in just five minutes.

Ovtcharov, though, got the last laugh. At 5-5 in the fifth game, the German finished off Joo on a 6-1 run and tied the match at 1-1.

Germany prevailed in the doubles, too, as Steger and Timo Boll defeated Jeoung and Lee Sang-su 3-2 (9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9).

The South Koreans won the first game 11-9, scoring the final two points after blowing a 6-1 lead.

The German charged out to a 7-1 lead in the second game, before Lee and Jeoung clawed their way back to make it a one-point affair. The Germans hung on and won the game 11-6.

Steger and Boll charged out in front by 8-2 in the third game and fended off a late South Korean charge for an 11-7 game win.

Jeoung and Lee weren’t going away. They built a 9-5 lead, and held on to take the game 11-9 and tied the match.

The fifth game was another close contest. The Germans led 6-3, and after the South Koreans tied things up at 9-9, Boll ended the match with back-to-back winners.

Boll then defeated Joo in the clinching fourth singles by 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-6).

Joo tried to stay close but the five-time Olympian from Germany made a quick work of the South Korean in 34 minutes. It was the shortest contest between the two teams.