London 2012 table tennis: With Olympic gold, China's Zhang earns table tennis grand slam

London 2012 table tennis: China has dominated play, winning the gold and silver medals in both men's singles Thursday, and women's singles Wednesday.

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    London 2012 table tennis: Zhang Jike of China, serves against Wang Hao of China, during the gold medal men's singles table tennis match August 2, in London. Zhang was the winner of the match, and with his Olympic gold medal now has a table tennis grand slam.
    Sergei Grits/AP
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The Chinese have dominated Olympic table tennis since its introduction into the Olympic Games in 1988, and London has been no exception. China picked up two more medals Thursday in men's singles.

Zhang Jike walked away from a high-tension match against countryman Wang Ho with the gold medal and a table tennis grand slam. Zhang has now won Olympic gold, a world championship and a world cup. 

It was a blow for Wang, who took the silver. Wang, from the city of Changchun, was the more experienced player, and was also looking for the grand slam. He is a world cup winner three times over, in 2007, 2008, and 2010, and also won the world championships in 2009.

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Zhang, from Shandong Province, recently hit the table tennis world stage, working his way up into a top 25 ranking in 2010, and then winning the 2011 world championship and the 2011 world cup. 

Wednesday's women's gold medal individual match was another duel between two Chinese players. Li Xiaoxia overtook No. 1 ranked Ding Ning, 4-1, to win the gold medal.

The four medals earned by the Chinese men and women in singles events add to China's already impressive total of table tennis medals. Prior to this Olympic Games, China had won 41 medals, 20 gold, 13 silver, and 8 bronze in table tennis. Since 1992, at least one Chinese player has medalled in every event.

On Thursday, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, from Germany, defeated Chuan Chih-Yuan from Taiwan, 4-2, to win the bronze medal. 

Table tennis team finals will begin on August 7, with the women's medal matches.


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