LONDON (Reuters) - Japan are guaranteed to win their first Olympic table tennis medal after their young, attacking women's team enjoyed an emphatic 3-0 win over Singapore in the semi-finals on Sunday.
Led by 19-year-old Kasumi Ishikawa and Ai Fukuhara, 23, the second seeds secured at least a silver medal as they set up a probable final with red-hot favourites China on Tuesday.
Cheered on by hundreds of fans urging them to "attack", Japan's women shrugged off a defeat for their men just hours earlier, which had added to the pressure on them to return home with the country's first Olympic medal in the sport.
Japan won the first two singles games as Fukuhara beat Singapore's top player Feng Tianwei, bronze medallist in the singles competition, and Ishikawa thrashed Yuegu Wang.
Ishikawa, paired with Sayaka Hirano, sealed victory with a 3-0 win in the doubles encounter.
Japan's youngsters are being touted as the most likely to break China's dominance in women's table tennis, which has seen them win all seven Olympics singles titles since the sport was introduced in 1988 and all but one of the doubles or team events.
Ishikawa is from a family of table tennis players and is coached by her mother Kumi. The teenager won Japan's national singles title last year, eclipsing Fukuhara, and has risen to number four in the world rankings.
They are likely to face China in the final, unless South Korea, seeded fourth, spring a huge surprise on Monday.
(Reporting by Steve Slater; editing by Ken Ferris)