South Korea’s men’s doubles team failed to reach the final of the Pyeongchang 2023 Asian Table Tennis Championships after suffering back-to-back defeats against the ‘strongest’ Chinese pair .The world number one pair of Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon (KEUR) lost 1-3 (11-6 5-11 8-11 7-11) to Marong and Wang Chuqin (CHN – unranked) in the men’s doubles semi-finals on day seven of the tournament at the Pyeongchang Dome in Gangwon Province on Monday. In the earlier semi-final, Ahn Jae-hyun (Korea Exchange)-Park Kang-hyun (Korea Water Resources Corporation) (unranked) lost 1-3 (9-11 11-9 6-11 7-11) to China’s Fan Zhen-dong-Ling Gaoyuan (unranked).With the loss, South Korea failed to reach the final in the men’s doubles and won two bronze medals .It was their fourth and fifth medals of the tournament, following silver in the women’s team event, bronze in the men’s team event and mixed doubles bronze for Lim Jong-hoon and Shin Yubin (Korean Air).After being ‘wiped out’ in the round of 16 in the men’s and women’s singles the previous day, both men’s doubles pairs were blocked by the ‘Great Wall’, leaving the Korean pair of Shin Yubin-Jeon Hee (Mirae Asset Securities) to compete in the women’s doubles semi-finals .The women’s doubles semi-finals and final will be played on back-to-back days. With two gold medals in the men’s and women’s team events, China has also booked gold in the men’s doubles. China has also filled the women’s singles semi-final and mixed doubles final brackets with Chinese players to secure at least five of the seven gold medals at the Games .China fielded new combinations for the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles at the tournament, rather than the usual top-ranked players .That’s why the majority of China’s doubles teams were unranked by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) doubles rankings .However, the Chinese pairs, comprised of some of the best players in singles, upset a number of Asian doubles powerhouses, including South Korea, to reach the final .On the day, Zhang Wujin and Lim Jonghun took the first game comfortably, capitalising on a series of unforced errors by the out-of-sync Marung and Wang Chuqin. However, game two was a different story. Marung, regarded as the ‘GOAT’ of table tennis, and Wang Chuqin, tipped as the next ace of the Chinese 안전놀이터 men’s national team, swept through three games in a row, never letting up from the second set onwards.

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