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Chinese men cruise to world table tennis semifinals
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Chinese men fended off aggressive Czechs to reach semifinals of world table tennis championships Friday.

The star-studded team hardly came across any serious challenge as it eased past all rivals in the group stage.

Triple world champion Wang Liqin, the first on court, managed to control his nerves under ferocious attacks by the 32nd-ranked Petr Korbel and took the match 3-2.

Wang disappointed spectators by losing to 74-ranked Romanian Andrei Filimon on Monday. He later saved his pride by overcoming Croatian and Austrian opponents in the following rounds.

Following Wang's lead, second-ranked Ma Lin and newly crowned World Cup champion Wang Hao quickly thrashed the hapless Czech players, sealing the match 3-0.

"I was nervous when Korbel scored but managed to put myself under control," said Wang Liqin after the game.

Liu Guoliang, head coach of the Chinese team, said Wang made the same mistake as that in facing the Romanians, but succeeded in rein in his thoughts.

In other games, Japan and Hong Kong of China made it to the semifinals after sweeping aside Chinese Taipei and Romania.

China, unbeaten in this competition since 2000, will meet with Hong Kong in the semifinals.

(Xinhua News Agency March 1, 2008)

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