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Table Tennis-Polish Paralympian wins; Czech tests COVID-positive

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Table Tennis - Women's Singles - Round 1 - Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium - Tokyo, Japan - July 24, 2021. Natalia Partyka of Poland in action against Michelle Bromley of Australia REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

TOKYO, July 24 (Reuters) - Polish Olympian and Paralympian Natalia Partyka cruised into the Olympic table tennis women's singles second round on Saturday, as Czech paddler Pavel Sirucek was forced to withdraw from the men's event after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Partyka, 31 and born without a right forearm, is representing Poland at her fourth Olympics and sixth Paralympics Games.

She beat Australia's Michelle Bromley 4-0 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasiumand will now face Egypt's Dina Meshref in the second round on Sunday.

United States paddler Liu Juan won her first-round singles match against Spain's Galia Dvorak. In a preliminary round singles held earlier on the day,36-year-old Liu scored a 4-1 win over Nigeria's Olufunke Oshonaike, who is competing at her seventh Olympics.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Syria's Hend Zaza, at 12 the youngest athlete competing at the Olympics, earlier exited in the opening round, snapping a selfie with her Austrian Liu Jia opponent to remember the occasion. read more

In the men's event, Australian paddler David Powell progressed to the second round by default after world No 52 Sirucek's COVID-19 diagnosis. read more

The mixed doubles made its Olympic debut and Japan's Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito remain in the medal hunt after pushing past Austria's Stefan Fegerl and Sofia Polcanova 4-1 in the best-of-seven match.

"I am sure China will be at the final match, and it is our motto and goals to compete with them ...and win the gold medal," Ito told reporters.

China's powerful pairing of world No.2 Xu Xin and reigning world champion Liu Shiwen beat Canada's Wang Zhen and Zhang Mo 4-1.

Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Peter Rutherford and John Stonestreet

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