Chengdu (China), Dec 8 (IANS): Top contenders China, Japan, and South Korea continued their undefeated streaks as the second stage of the inaugural International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Mixed Team World Cup reached its midpoint here on Thursday.
Hosts China faced minimal opposition from Chinese Taipei, dropping only one game in the mixed doubles on its way to victory.
Top-ranked pair Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha overcame a challenging late stage to prevail 11-5, 11-7, 9-11 over Yang Chia-An and Li Yu-Jhun.
Olympic champions Chen Meng and Ma Long demonstrated their prowess, contributing three points each for China in their respective singles matches, reports Xinhua.
In their evening matchup against France, China secured another comfortable 8-1 victory.
After Wang and Sun dominated Yuan Jianan and Alexis Lebrun 11-1, 11-8, 11-3, Wang Manyu extended China's lead to six games with an 11-5, 11-5, 13-11 victory over Prithika Pavade in the women's singles.
Despite a setback in the second game to French prodigy Felix Lebrun, world No. 1 Fan Zhendong rallied to seal the hosts' victory as he triumphed 11-7, 9-11, 13-11 in the men's singles.
Japan faced a more challenging contest against Sweden. After Japan led 7-2 after the men's singles, Kristian Karlsson and Anton Kallberg gave Sweden hope of a comeback by sweeping past Tomokazu Harimoto and Shunsuke Togami 11-9, 11-4, 12-10 in the men's doubles, reducing the deficit to two games. But Miwa Harimoto and Hina Hayata won 11-3 in the first game of the women's doubles to halt Sweden's rally.
Later in the day, Japan maintained its winning form against Slovakia 8-2.
After overwhelming Slovakia 8-0 in the day session, South Korea defeated Sweden 8-2 to register its third consecutive victory in the second stage.
Also on Thursday, Germany bounced back from an 8-4 loss to France in the morning to overcome Chinese Taipei 8-2.
With three rounds remaining, China leads the standings with eight points and a win-loss record of 32-3 in games, with Japan and South Korea following in second and third, respectively.
China will play against Germany on Friday, while Japan and South Korea are set for a clash in their attempt to emerge as champions. The other two matches of the day feature France against Chinese Taipei and Sweden against Slovakia.
Using an innovative mixed-team format, the tournament continues through Sunday, with the team achieving the best overall result to be crowned champion.