China celebrate their World Championship success over Japan ©Getty Images

China came from behind to beat Japan 3-1 and claim a fourth successive women's title today at the International Table Tennis Federation World Team Championships in Halmstad.

The sport's dominant power have now triumphed at 20 of the last 22 editions of the biennial event in a run dating back to 1975 in Calcutta.

Japan, despite a tenacious effort, had to be content with a third successive silver medal.

They have not won gold in almost half a century since the 1971 edition in Nagoya. 

Mima Ito had given the underdogs hope with a thrilling victory over Liu Shiwen in the opening game at the Halmstad Arena in Sweden.

She was 2-1 down and then saved two match points in the fifth set to prevail 11-9, 8-11, 5-11, 11-8, 12-10.

World and Olympic singles champion Ding Ning then turned the tide with a 11-6, 12-10, 13-11 success over Japan's Miu Hirano.

Zhu Yuling then outplayed world number three Kasumi Ishikawa 11-4, 11-7, 11-8 before Liu returned to defeat Hirano 11-6, 11-6, 12-10.

Hong Kong and the unified Korean team will each take bronze by virtue of losing their semi-finals yesterday.

China dispatched hosts Sweden 3-0 in the first men's semi-final earlier today to move one win away from a ninth successive men's success.

Germany lie in wait tomorrow after a thrilling 3-2 win over South Korea.