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Olympic table tennis begins with China's easy win
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The Olympic table tennis competition began on Wednesday at the Peking University gymnasium with Chinese women's easy victory over Croatia.

The unstoppable Chinese trio of Zhang Yining, Guo Yue and Wang Nan won their first Olympic matches on home soil all by 3-0.

World number one Zhang had little difficulty in finishing off 26th-ranked Tamara Boros 11-4, 11-2, 11-6 in 15 minutes.

However, Grand Slam veteran Wang lost her first set to 131st-ranked Andrea Bakula 12-10 due to some early jitters. The 30-year-old Chinese soon staged a spirited comeback to take the next three sets 11-5, 11-4, 11-9, with a smile on her face.

"Wang's first game loss is not surprising. It's just normal since it's the first match and we are all getting adjusted to the atmosphere and rhythm. We will go all out for the best outcome," Chinese women's head coach Shi Zhihao said after the match.

World champion Guo then teamed up with Zhang to brush aside a Croatian duo of Bakula and Sandra Paovic in straight sets, 11-3, 11-3, 11-2, sealing China's first success.

"I played as well as I did in the training. I felt the atmosphere of the Olympic Games here this morning and won't relax till the end of the Games," Guo told reporters.

"No matter whether the opponent is strong or weak, we will regard every match as the final," said Zhang. "If we relax, the possibility (of our winning) will change so we set high requirements for ourselves. If I can win 11-8, I won't let the opponent score nine points."

Zhang, who won singles and doubles golds in Athens, added that Guo was her new partner in the doubles though she was more familiar with Wang, her partner at the 2004 Games.

"Guo and I will get used to each other in such big competitions," she said.

Bakula admitted that the Chinese were "really tough in the head and difficult to deal with." "But I'm feeling good here and looking forward to next matches," she said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2008)

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