By Michael Pavitt

North K
North Korea will play Japan in the semi final ©Getty Imagesorea's women's team have advanced to the semi-final stage of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Team Cup after beating Germany 3-1, having not participated at the event since 1991.

Ri Myong Sun, star of the opening day win over Hong Kong, continued her excellent form by winning both of her matches in three straight games, with victories over Petrissa Solja and Sabine Winter respectively.

Solja and Winter were also beaten 3-1 in the doubles event by Kim Hye Song and Mi Gyong Ri as the team progressed to the semi-final stage with a match to spare.

They will face Japan in the semi-finals after they coasted past Brazil, winning 3-0 without dropping a set in the process.

There was a closer quarter final match between Singapore and Hong Kong, which saw Isabelle Li shock Lee Ho Ching in the decisive final match, winning 3-2 to put Singapore through by the same score overall.

"The feeling I have now is amazing," said Li after her victory.

"I can't believe I won, it has not yet sunk in.

"After I lost my 2-0 lead and the match was tied at 2-2, I told myself to start the match over again and forget about it, I couldn't let myself be affected.

Isabelle Li won the final match, to send Singapore through to the semi final at the expense of Hong Kong ©Getty ImagesIsabelle Li won the final match to send Singapore through to the semi final at the expense of Hong Kong ©Getty Images

"My strategy for the match was to be patient and attack without hesitation at every stage, and I think I executed this very well.

"At the start of the match I didn't think I could win, but I just wanted to fight hard for my team mates," Li admitted.

Following their progression Singapore will face China in the semi-final, after the favourites breezed past Romania 3-0 and like Japan, did not lose a set in their quarter final clash.

In the men's side of the draw, meanwhile, the day's shock result was produced by Portugal, who edged Japan 3-2 after João Monteiro recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Yuto Muramatsu.

This guarantees the European nation a first podium finish since the tournament was first staged in 1990.

There were two other shock results as Austria overcame Germany and Taiwan dispatched South Korea, but there was no surprise as number one seeds China swept into the last four with a 3-0 victory over Brazil.

Competition continues over the weekend.

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