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Japan breezes into table tennis women's team last 8

From left,Japan's Mima Ito, Miu Hirano and Kasumi Ishikawa smile after winning the table tennis women's team round of 16 against Hungary at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Aug.1, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Mixed doubles champion Mima Ito thrashed Dora Madarasz as Japan eased into the quarterfinals of the table tennis women's team event with an opening 3-0 defeat of Hungary at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.

    Seeking her third medal of the games having also captured the women's singles bronze, Ito won 11-2, 11-6, 11-6 to put Japan firmly in control after Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano had won the opening doubles match at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

    Hirano and Ishikawa got the ball rolling by beating Maria Fazekas and Szandra Pergel 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 and Hirano completed an emphatic victory, overpowering Pergel in the second singles contest 11-3, 11-5, 11-7.

    "I've had plenty of sleep over this past two days and I am just happy to be able to move around," said Ito, whose bronze on Thursday was the first Olympic singles medal in the sport by a Japanese woman.

    "I am pleased to be able to play lots of matches and play with my teammates."

    Ishikawa added, "Being the first match there were a few nerves but everyone on the team played well."

    Japan is seeking a second straight women's team medal after Ito, Ishikawa and now-retired Ai Fukuhara placed third in Rio five years ago. Hirano is making her Olympic debut here.

    "I have wanted to play at the Olympics since I was a small child and am grateful just to be standing on this stage," said Hirano. "I enjoyed playing. The Olympics feel special."

    The host nation will face Taiwan in the last eight on Monday. Taiwan beat the United States 3-0.

    Looking ahead to the quarterfinals, Ishikawa said, "We have done our homework and hopefully we can play with confidence."

    Three-time defending champion China beat Australia 3-0.

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