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TABLE TENNIS / WORLD TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS: Germany, China to clash for team title
DORTMUND: Hosts Germany and defending champions China will renew their rivalry in the men's final at the World Team Championships after winning their semi-finals.
The two powerhouses have contested the last Olympic team final in 2008 in Beijing and the previous world team final in Moscow two years ago with China winning on both occasions.
With China having reached both the men's and women's finals, there is a strong chance their squads can become dual world champions.
Germany's men reached the final with a 3-1 win over Japan in Saturday's semi-final in front of a 10,000 crowd at Dortmund's Westfalenhallen and Dimitrij Ovtcharov is backing the home team to slay Chins's red dragon.
"China have three exceptional talented players, but with the crowd's support, we can beat them," he said after his 11-7, 15-13, 13-11 win over Japan's Jun Mizutani.
The Germans will have their work cut out to halt China.
In their opening game against South Korea, China's Ma Long blitzed Oh Sang Eun for a 11-2, 11-7, 12-10 win and his teammates Wang Hao and Jike Zhang both recorded 3-1 wins in the matches to book their date with the Germans.
In the women's competition, China have the chance to avenge their 3-1 defeat in the 2010 world final to Singapore.
Singapore reached the final after a dramatic 3-2 semi-final win over South Korea on Saturday, while China had few problems as they saw off Hong Kong 3-1 in the other semis.
The reigning world singles champion, China's Ding Ning, demolished Hong Kong's Jiang Huajun 11-9, 11-4, 11-4 and spearheads a powerful China line-up.
"We have a very slim chance of winning -- I roughly estimate under one per cent," said Singapore coach Zhou Shusen. "However we will try our very best."
The World Championships doubles as an Olympic qualifier with London places up for grabs for the highest-ranked nation from each of the six continents. AFP