Aust in hunt for three table tennis gold

Australia's Qian Yang has joined three of her compatriots in claiming a semi-final win in Tokyo.
Australia's Qian Yang has joined three of her compatriots in claiming a semi-final win in Tokyo.

Australia has the chance to collect three table tennis Paralympic gold medals, while Ma Lin claimed a silver medal on a super Saturday in Tokyo.

Sam von Eimem can best his Rio silver medal after clawing his way to an epic 3-2 win over defending Paralympic champion Florian van Acker.

The Belgian won the first two sets before Queenslander von Eimem dug deep to win the next three to secure a place in Sunday's C11 gold medal match against Peter Palos of Hungary.

"I'm over the moon. To get over van Acker was something that I had been trying to do for so long and now that I've done it, it's unbelievable," von Eimem said.

"After those two first games I just thought that I had to reset and take one point at the time. I think I did it really well, the match finally started to come my way and I got away with the win."

Von Eimem joined Ma, Lina Lei and Qian Yang in the gold medal round after the Chinese-born athletes also enjoyed semi-final success.

Ma, who lost his arm in a bear attack at a Chinese zoo as a child, lost his C9 gold medal match to Belgian Laurens Devos 3-1 on Saturday night.

Four-time Paralympic champion Ma, who switched allegiance to Australia in 2017, claimed the first set before Rio gold medallist Devos reeled off the next three sets.

Lei also competed at four Paralympics for China between 2004 and 2016, winning five gold medals and three silver in singles and team classes before donning the green and gold.

Lei edged Hungary's Alexa Szvitacs 3-2 in the women's C9 semi-final on Saturday and will now battle China's Guiyan Xiong for gold on Monday.

Yang snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the women's C10 semi-final, prevailing in a five-set epic against Polish star Natalia Partyka.

Partyka had won gold in the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Paralympics and led the semi-final 2-1, and 9-4 in the final set.

But Yang reeled off the final seven points of the match to win 3-2 and tee up a gold medal match against Brazil's Bruna Costa Alexandre on Monday.

Yang previously won singles silver when competing for China in 2012 and 2016, and claimed team gold in London and team silver in Rio.

Yang had advanced to the final four by overcoming Australian teammate Melissa Tapper in their quarter-final earlier in the day.

Tapper will return next week with Yang and Lei for the teams event.

Australian Associated Press