Players and coaches of the combined team of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and South Korea greet the spectators after their women's semifinal match against Japan at 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad, Sweden, May 4, 2018. The combined team of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and South Korea lost the match 0-3. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan)
HALMSTAD, Sweden, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Title contender Japan defeated a combined Korean team 3-0 in the women's semifinal at the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships here on Friday.
The combined Korean team, which merged a day ago, featuring Kim Song I of DPR Korea and Jeon Jihee, Yang Haeun from South Korea. They faced Ishikawa Kasumi, Hirano Miu and Ito Mima.
DPR Korea and South Korea women's teams, instead of competing against each other in a quarterfinal match, decide to merge. They advanced to the semifinal automatically as one team. In the opening game, 17-year-old Ito Mima faced little opposition, snapping up a win against Jeon Jihee 11-2, 11-8, 11-9.
The following game was far more breathtaking, as world No. 3 Ishikawa Kasumi battled to five sets to beat Kim Song I.
Ishikawa said after the game that her opponent was not easy to beat and she had some lucky points towards the end of the game. "I'm satisfied with myself as I won eventually," Ishikawa added.
"It was a little bit unfortunate that I couldn't win the game," Kim said. "The atmosphere in the combined team, is terrific, we cheer for each other."
In the last game, Hirano Miu defeated Yang Haeun 3-1, sending Japan to the final.