European powerhouse Germany stormed past Japan Saturday to advance into the final of table tennis team event of the Beijing Olympic Games.
The 210-minute clash proved to be a tit-for-tat confrontation with players in both sides fight to their maximum ability to lead the match.
Germany's rising star Dimitrij Ovtcharov edged 19-ranked Kan Yo in a seesaw full-set match.
With 2-all on set, Kan Yo failed to resist the ferocious onslaught of Ovtcharov and dropped the tie-breaker 10-12 before losing the confrontation 2-3.
Japan's teenage prodigy Jun Mizutani mounted gusty challenge against veteran Timor Boll in efforts to pull the score even, but let the Japanese down after losing 1-3.
Jun, pairing with Seiya Kishikawa, refused to lie down in face of 40-ranked Christian Suss and Ovtcharov in the third matchup and emerged with a 3-1 victory,
Former Chinese paddler Kan Yo pulled one back for Japan, also in a nail-biting five sets, before Boll returned to the tables to fight off an overcharged Kishikawa 3-2 and clinch the match 3-2.
Japan and South Korea crushed Hong Kong, China and Chinese Taipei Thursday to advance into team semifinals.
Japan will take on Austria Sunday to chase the bronze medal .
The table tennis tournament, held in the 8,000-seat stadium in Peking University, is scheduled to last 11 days starting from Aug. 13. The men's team event final will be held Monday following the women's final on Sunday.
(Xinhua News Agency August 16, 2008)