RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Japan's men's team avenged their women counterparts' painful semi-finals loss by beating Germany on Monday to secure a spot in the final, and also guaranteed themselves the country's first medal in the men's team event in the process.
While Germany's Dimitrij Ovtcharov started strongly to take the first set over Maharu Yoshimura, they eventually faltered to lose 3-1 to Japan, who were anchored by the explosive spins of individual bronze medallist and world No. 6 Jun Mizutani.
"Japan played really strong today, the best match they've ever played against us I would say, especially Mizutani ... They were really unstoppable today," said Timo Boll of Germany.
The Japanese team, which failed to medal in 2008 and 2012, will face the winner of the semi-finals match between defending champions China and South Korea.
"China will probably come to the final," said Mizutani, "Playing against China in the final, especially at the Olympics, is going to be a really big thing."
The Japanese women's team were edged out by Germany on Sunday with a return ball that grazed against the table edge, giving them the winning point by millimetres.
They will play against Singapore for the bronze.