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Mixed Doubles Event Guide

Mixed Doubles – Table Tennis Olympic Event Guide (Updated for Paris 2024)

Introduced at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Mixed Doubles is one of the most exciting tournaments in the table tennis calendar.

It’s a rare opportunity to see the top male and female players competing together in teams to bring Olympic medals back to their countries.

The mixed doubles event was considered by many (ourselves included) to be the best event this past Olympics, and chances are that it’ll be just as good, if not better, this time around in Paris. 

Japan will be looking to defend its title, China is thirsty for revenge, and the other countries are more than ready to challenge them.

In this article, we’ll cover the structure, schedule, and stats of the mixed doubles event, historically, and for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics. Let’s begin!

Mixed Doubles Event Structure

32 players will compete forming 16 doubles pairs. 

Each nation can only have one team in the competition, so athletes from 16 different nations will compete against each other in a single elimination bracket.

Each match will be played in a best-of-7 format, something quite unusual for a doubles event.

The 16 doubles pairs participating in the event will qualify directly if they meet certain criteria, and there are no qualifying rounds.

How to Qualify

The 16 places are distributed as follows:

  • 1 spot has already been given to the host country (France) 
  • 6 continental qualification tournaments (Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, North and Latin America) will award the mixed doubles spot to the winning pairings from each continent. 
  • 4 places will be awarded to the semi-finalists of the designated qualifying competition, scheduled for 11-12 April 2024 in Havirov, Czechia.
  • Lastly, the last 5 highest-ranked pairs that hadn’t qualified by any of the other criteria by May 7, 2024, will be awarded the remaining places based on the ITTF World Ranking.

The pairings that have already qualified by having won their continental qualifying competition come from Germany, Australia, China, Egypt, Brazil, and Cuba. However, the Chinese pair of Lin Gaoyuan & Wang Yidi forfeited their entry. This is most likely to allow the top-ranked Chinese pairing to claim the Chinese entry instead.

ContinentDates HeldMens TeamResults
Oceania2 – 3 September 2023Nicholas Lum & Minhyung Jee (AUS)Results
Asia3 – 10 September 2023Lin Gaoyuan & Wang Yidi (CHN)Results
Europe23 June – 2 July 2023Dang Qiu & Nina Mittelham (GER)Results
Americas29 October – 5 November 2023Jorge Campos & Daniela Carrazana Fonseca (CUB)
Vitor Ishiy & Bruna Takahashi (BRA)
Results
Africa11 – 17 September 2023Omar Assar & Dina MeshrefResults

Paris 2024 Top Seeds

The official seeding is not available yet. However, some nations have already qualified, and among them are some of the favorites.

Others, including pairings from Japan and Korea, are nearly guaranteed to qualify, so we’ll include them here as some of the possible top seeds.

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China

China Mixed Doubles Team

Even though Japan won the previous edition of the mixed doubles event, China is still the favorite to win the event. 

In fact, if you take a look at the men’s and women’s world top 5, there is only 1 non-Chinese player.

At the time of writing, the men’s top 5 are all Chinese, and the women’s top 5 is composed of 4 Chinese athletes and 1 Japanese athlete (Hina Hayata).

Also unsurprisingly, it’s a Chinese pairing (Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha) who are the world’s #1 mixed doubles pairing. 

Wang and Sun are a very successful pairing, and they have been winning events all over the world in both singles and doubles.

In singles, both players won the WTT Finals which is one of the most important events in the calendar. In addition, Sun won the Singapore Smash and the World Table Tennis Championships.

They’re equally as successful as a pairing, though. Wang and Sun won the World Table Tennis Championships (the Singapore Smash) and many other events this past year. 

Wang and Sun are the strongest mixed doubles pairing because their styles complement each other perfectly.

Both players love to take the initiative and they are extremely fast when playing out rallies. They hit with tons of power and they love to take the ball early.

This style is perfect for doubles, as taking the initiative and playing close to the table takes lots of time away from their opponents.

If they don’t attack first, they still win most points, as Wang and Sun are masters of the counter topspin shot.

In addition to being faster than virtually everyone else, Sun is a righty and Wang is a lefty, which means that they don’t have to rotate completely as two righties or two lefties would.

If Sun Yingsha and Wang Chuqin play together as the Chinese representatives, they will be the doubles pairings to beat this Olympics.

If they don’t play together, China will still be the team to beat, as they have 9 of the best 10 table tennis players in the world.

Japan

Japan Mixed Double Team

Japan are the first and current champions, and they’ll look to defend their title in Paris.

Given that gold medallist Jun Mizutani has retired from international competition, they’ll try to accomplish this feat with a completely different doubles pairing.

The most likely mixed doubles pairing that will represent Japan in this Paris Olympics is Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata.

Both players are in the prime of their careers, they are both top 10 in their respective singles rankings and, together, they are ranked #2 in the mixed doubles rankings.

I have to say I would be very surprised if this wasn’t the pairing to represent Japan, as they have fared exceptionally well together this past year.

In 2023, they won the WTT Contender Antalya and they reached the final of the most important events, the World Table Tennis Championships, the Singapore Smash, and the WTT Star Contender Lanzhou.

Even though Harimoto and Hayata have been having excellent results, they will have to find a way to beat the Chinese pairing. 

They have reached 4 finals this past year, winning one and losing three.

The one time they won, they beat Felix Lebrun and Prithika Pavade, a very strong pairing for sure. 

However, the three times they lost, they lost against Chinese pairings. They lost twice to the most probable Chinese double pairing, Wang and Sun, and they lost another final to Lin Shidong and Kuai Man.

Hina Hayata and Tomokazu Harimoto are very stable and strong players. They both thrive in the rally and they make few unforced mistakes.

They are extremely well-rounded, offensive players who dominate the whole pallet of offensive strokes. Both of them also have superb blocking skills.

It’ll be interesting to see if they can come up with strategies to upset the Chinese pairings that have beat them time and time again. 

Chinese Taipei

Chinese Taipei Mixed Doubles Team

Chinese Taipei is the third team I believe has a real chance of winning the event.

The Chinese Taipei pairing took bronze last time around and they will surely keep at least one of the players from that team: Lin Yun-Ju.

The last time they competed in this event, Lin played with Cheng I-Ching.

We believe Lin is almost guaranteed to play, as he’s comfortably the best male player from Chinese Taipei. In addition, he’s a lefty, and he has the perfect playing style for doubles. 

Cheng is also still the best player from Chinese Taipei on the womens side. As of writing this article, she’s ranked #10 in the world (comparied to Lin’s #8 ranking).

Even though Cheng I-Ching is the highest-ranked player by a wide margin, Lin Yun-Ju has recently been competing with WR #41 Chen Szu-Yu.

It is unclear whether they will opt for the best-ranked players (Cheng and Lin) or if they’ll register the pairing that has been playing this past year (Chen and Lin).

If we assume that Chen Szu-Yu and Lin Yun-Ju are going to be the Chinese Taipei pairing, they have done extremely well together this past year.

They won the WTT Contender Tunis and the WTT Contender Muscat, they reached the final of the WTT Contender Almaty and the semifinal of the Singapore Smash.

Chen and Lin make a great doubles pairing because both love using their backhand flick to open up the point.

They are also extremely strong in open rallies, and they don’t have to move as much because they’re a righty and a lefty.

South Korea

South Korea Mixed Doubles Team

Team Korea is a strong contender for Olympic gold, no doubt about it.

As of writing this article, South Korea’s most likely doubles pairing is ranked #3 in the world. It is composed by Lim Jonghoon and Shin Yubin.

Both players are extremely strong in singles. Shin is currently ranked #8 in the world, and Lim is ranked #18 himself.

Lim and Shin are offensive players who like to hit the ball with power. 

They synergize wonderfully together, and they did very well this past year, winning two Contender events and reaching the final stages of 10 events (semi-final or better).

In addition, they are also a lefty and a righty, and they both have great forehands. 

Paris 2024 Match Schedule

The schedule of the mixed doubles event is as follows: 

Mixed-Doubles-Olympics-Schedule

To put it simply, there are 4 rounds (round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final), and one round will be played per day, starting from Saturday 27th. 

The round of 16 will be played on Saturday 27th, the quarter-finals matches will be played on Sunday 28th, the semi-finals on Monday 29th, and the final and 3rd place match on Tuesday 30th.

Mixed Doubles Event History

The Mixed Doubles event was introduced in the 2020 Olympics, so there’s only one edition we can speak about. However, it was one of the best events this past Olympics, so there’s plenty to discuss.

The 4 teams that reached the semi-finals were Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, and France.

China (Xu Xin / Liu Shiwen) defeated France (Emmanuel Lebesson / Jia Nan Yuan) 4 games to 0 in dominant fashion. 

Leading to the finals, China had only dropped one game in the first round against Mo Zhang and Eugene Wang (Canada).

On the other side of the bracket, Japan defeated Chinese Taipei 4-1.

Japan’s path to the final wasn’t as simple as China’s, as they had to face Germany (Patrick Franziska / Petrissa Solja) in the quarter-finals.

This match would be the turning point for team Japan, and it was one of the toughest matches of Ito and Mizutani’s career.

Mizutani and Ito were down 2-1 and 3-2 in games. They were able to take the 6th game 11-8 and they played probably the most insane decider game in the history of the Olympic games.

The Japanese pair lost the 5 first points, switching sides 0-5 down. The situation was looking bleak for Ito and Mizutani but there was still room to fight back.

However, Japan was able to seize only 4 of the following 6 points, going down 2-9. They were virtually out of the Olympics at that point. It turns out that Jun Mizutani had different plans.

Jun managed to hit three forehand winners to put the score 5-9, and Germany called a timeout.

Japan won the following point but Germany scored a point off of a net ball, putting them 10-6 ahead with 4 match points. 

At that point, everything would change. The Japanese team won the next 4 points by attacking with tons of power. Each of the 4 points they won was from a power loop.

The Japanese team displayed great courage to fight back but not all was done. 

They had to save 3 more match points to win the match 16-14 in the decider, after coming back from 2-9 down. In total, they saved 7 match points.

If you haven’t seen this match, I highly recommend you watch it, or at least watch the deciding game. In fact, I’ll link the last game here so you can watch it for yourselves! It is by far one of the most legendary feats of the Olympics when it comes to table tennis.

As for the third-place match, Chinese Taipei handily beat France 4-0 to take the bronze medal. It was now time for the final.

The final was a rollercoaster of emotions. China was the favorite, by far, but Japan was in top form. 

China quickly took the lead 2-0. Mima Ito got off to a slow start, missing many easy shots. 

In fact, the Japanese team was so strong because Mima Ito had a very aggressive playstyle that paid off incredibly well when she was able to land her attacks on the table. That didn’t happen consistently enough in the first two games, and China was comfortably in the lead.

In the following 3 games, however, everything would change. Team Japan gave a masterclass on how to play doubles.

The Japanese pairing won the following 3 games playing their best. Mima Ito stayed close to the table hitting and counter-hitting with great pace and speed, while Jun Mizutani dropped back a few steps to loop and counterloop with tons of spin and consistency from mid-distance.

Those 3 games showed how harmonic the playstyle of team Japan really was.

In the 6th game, however, China bounced back. They played more safely, they hardly missed any balls and they were able to seize the 6th 11-6. Team Japan had to play yet another deciding game. 

This time would be very different, though. Japan came out guns blazing, they stepped on the gas and they never let go.

They won point after point and, all of a sudden, they were up 8-0 in the deciding game of an Olympic final, against China of all countries!

The last game almost looked like a victory lap on home soil. The Japanese pair finally won the last game 11-6, giving the home crowd a huge reason to celebrate.

As you can see, the mixed doubles event was epic! This year’s edition is definitely NOT to be missed.

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The Controller

Alvaro’s been playing Table Tennis since he was 15 and is now ranked within the top 100 in his native Argentina. He loves to compete in provincial tournaments and is always looking for ways to improve. Alvaro made his favourite memories with a racket in hand, and he joined the RacketInsight team to share his passion with other players!

Blade: Butterfly Fan Zhendong ALC | Forehand: Butterfly Dignics 09c | Backhand: Butterfly Rozena
Playstyle: The Controller

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