China defeats Japan for gold in women's team table tennis

China's women's table tennis team won its fourth straight Olympic gold medal. (Getty Images)

China is one match away from sweeping all four possible table tennis gold medals for a fourth straight Olympics. 

The Chinese team of Chen Meng, Wang Manyu and Sun Yinghsa defeated Japan's Ishikawa Kasumi, Hirano Miu and Ito Mima 3-0 on Thursday in the women's team gold medal match. 

Chen and Wang, who paired for doubles, dropped the first set of the first match but then won the next three. Sun won her singles match 3-1, then Wang clinched the gold with a 3-0 sweep.

Earlier in the Games, China's Ma Long and Fan Zhengong went 1-2 in men's singles and Chen and Sun went 1-2 in women's singles. Chinese men have won at least two medals in singles at every Olympics dating back through 1996 — mostly, the gold and silver. The women have won two medals for the past three Games, and in 2008, both genders swept all three singles medals. 

The team contest only became part of the Olympic program in 2008, replacing doubles, and China has won every iteration for both genders. 

Hong Kong won the bronze medal match earlier on Thursday, defeating Germany for its first-ever medal in the women's team event.