Maharu Yoshimura, right, and Kasumi Ishikawa receive the mixed doubles trophy ©Getty Images

Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa have targeted a potential home mixed doubles Olympic title at Tokyo 2020 after winning the first gold of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Championships here today.

The Japanese mixed doubles duo, who claimed silver in 2015, twice recovered from two sets down today to brilliantly claim their country's first world title in any event since Toshiko Kowada won the women's singles title in 1969.

It came on a mixed day for the nation, though, as another victory for 13-year-old Tomokazu Harimoto was tempered by defeat for Miu Hirano in the women's singles semi-final.

Yoshimura and Ishikawa were initially outplayed by Taiwanese opponents Chen Chien-An and Cheng I-Ching who moved 2-0 and then 3-1 ahead.

After dominating the fifth, a timeout when trailing 7-6 in the sixth proved crucial as the Japanese pair edged clear before winning the decider.

"We have practised very hard to reach this goal now," said Ishikawa after their 4-3 win.

"We've played together since we were very little; that's why we understand each other. 

"We are very good friends and we speak about personal things to each other. 

"I'm very glad that mixed doubles is getting attention here, and of course if there is mixed doubles at Tokyo 2020 then I will go for it."

The winning duo embrace after their gold medal success ©Getty Images
The winning duo embrace after their gold medal success ©Getty Images

Mixed doubles is one of three events proposed by the International Table Tennis Federation for inclusion on the Olympic programme.

A decision is due to be made by the IOC Executive Board at a meeting in Lausanne on Friday (June 9).

Both bronze medal winning pairs had lost their semi-finals 4-3 earlier today.

Hong Kong's Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem missed out to Chen and Cheng while Chinese and German pairing Fang Bo and Petrissa Solja let a 3-1 lead slip against the eventual winners.

The rest of day six belonged to table tennis powerhouse China.

Stung by the shock defeat suffered by two-time world champion Zhang Jike yesterday, the world's dominant nation hit back with a series of dazzling performances.

Olympic and defending world champion Ding Ning led the way by demolishing Japanese teenage sensation Hirano in the first of the women's singles semi-finals.

Hirano, 17, had stunned world number one Ding en-route to gold at the Asian Championships in Wuxi in April.

The Chinese player was in no mood for a repeat surprise today, though, charging through the first three sets and overpowering her opponent to win 4-1.

Ding Ning was in dominant form today against Miu Hirano ©ITTF
Ding Ning was in dominant form today against Miu Hirano ©ITTF

Zhu Yuling made it third time lucky in the second semi-final to end a run of two World Championship defeats to 2015 silver medallist Liu Shiwen.

Zhu trailed 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 but, roared on by a group of screaming supporters, she led when it mattered most to win 4-3.

In the men's singles fourth round, top seed and defending champion Ma Long romped past ninth seed Chuang Chih-yuan of Taiwan while second ranked Fan Zhendong beat home hope Ruwen Filus 4-2. 

Harimoto belied his tender years yet again to end the run of Slovakian Lubomir Pistej, 4-1, while Zhang's South Korean vanquisher Lee Sang-su eased past a below par Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus 4-0.

Germany's Rio Olympic flagbearer Timo Boll provided the home highlight for the 8,000 fans here today with a 4-1 victory in an all left-handed duel with Portugal's Marcos Freitas.

Hong Kong's seventh seed Wong also recovered from his mixed doubles loss to win 4-1 over another South Korean in Jeong Sang-eun.

Boll's team-mate and fifth seed Dimitrij Ovtcharov faces Japan's Koki Niwa in their fourth round clash tomorrow morning, while third seed Xu Xin also still has to play Chinese team-mate Lin Gaoyuan.

Xu will also play in the doubles final tomorrow after he and Fan romped through their semi-final today 4-0 against Yoshimura - fresh from his mixed doubles medals ceremony - and team-mate Koki Niwa.

Japanese top seeds Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima lie in wait after a 4-2 victory over South Korea's Jeoung Young-sik and Lee Sang-su.

Women's singles and men's doubles finals are each due to take place tomorrow.