Day 5 Preview: Women’s medal rounds take center stage in Rio

The medal matches are already upon us in Rio with the women set to hand out silverware Wednesday evening. The semifinal matches will start at 9:00 AM ET streaming live on NBCOlympics.com.

Reigning gold medalist Li Xiaoxia of China faces Ai Fukuhara of Japan in the first semifinal of the day. While neither player has dropped a set yet in Rio, Fukuhara has required extra points twice so far in rounds four and five. Li is a co-favorite for gold in Rio and should be seen as a heavy favorite in the match.

In the other semifinal, top-seeded Ding Ning has a unique challenge as she takes on North Korea’s Kim Song-I. Ding won the silver medal at the London Games and is the other co-favorite to take home gold in Rio, having won all her contests in shutouts thus far. Kim scored a pair of high-profile upsets on her route to the semis, knocking off #4 Kasumi Ishikawa and #9 Yu Mengyu. Players from North Korea are notoriously tricky to scout, as they rarely compete outside of high-profile tournaments.

After the semifinals, the bronze medal match is slated for a 7:30 PM ET start, with the gold medal match to begin after that match concludes. You can catch both those contests streaming live on NBCOlympics.com.