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China escapes with women's win against India to kick off Busan table tennis team worlds

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-02-16 21:08
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BUSAN, South Korea - China rallied from behind twice to narrowly defeat India 3-2 in its opening match of the women's team event at the ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals, which began on Friday.

The Chinese team, featuring Sun Yingsha, Wang Manyu, and Wang Yidi, was pushed to the limit, facing significant pressure from an Indian team that started strongly, led by world No 155 Ayhika Mukherjee.

Mukherjee, entering her match against Sun as the underdog, used her defensive play to upset the top-ranked player with scores of 12-10, 2-11, 13-11, 11-6.

"I was not quite resolute in dealing with some crucial points, and I was sometimes a little bit hesitant," admitted Sun.

"This is the best victory in my lifetime," said an exhilarated Mukherjee. "When I saw that we would play against China, I told my teammates that I really wanted to play with Sun Yingsha. When I saw that I would play against her, I was really happy in the morning."

"I didn't plan anything. I just went there and played my 100 percent. I will enjoy every point because she is the best. If I want to win, I just need to do my best. To be honest, I didn't think about winning or losing. I just told myself that I will play every point, whatever the ball comes, I will try to play on the other side the next ball. That was my only plan," she added.

Wang Manyu helped China restore parity with an 11-3, 11-8, 13-15, 11-7 victory over India's highest-ranked Manika Batra.

India went ahead again through another surprising victory, as 49th-ranked Sreeja Akula swept Wang Yidi, who is 47 places higher than her in the world rankings, 11-7, 11-9, 13-11.

"I didn't do quite well on some key points. The opponent imposed much pressure on me, and I failed to make timely adjustments," explained Wang Yidi.

With the reigning champions on the line, Sun got her form back on track when she took on 36th-placed Batra, emerging victorious 11-3, 11-6, 11-13, 11-9.

"I just fought for every point against Batra. She has good skills and she is tall. I just wanted to help my team level the match," said Sun.

In the decisive match, Wang Manyu scored her second point of the day, triumphing 11-9, 13-11, 11-6 over Mukherjee.

"Team India has showcased its characteristics and strength. This is our first match here, and I feel not bad in adjusting myself in difficulties," Wang Manyu remarked.

Aiming to win the women's team title for the sixth consecutive time, China will face Uzbekistan in its next group match on Saturday.

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