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Chinese women get strong start at World Team Table Tennis Championships
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Chinese women's squad began the defense of its world team table tennis title in Guangzhou on Sunday, enjoying an easy 3-0 victory over Russia.

Chinese women Zhang Yining, Li Xiaoxia and Wang Nan, all among the world top five, whitewashed much lower-ranked challengers Svetlana Ganina, Irina Kotikhina and Oksana Fadeeva.

"We made adequate preparations before the match and knew Russia would probably field two choppers," said Shi Zhihao, head coach of the Chinese women's national team.

"Everything was under our control and I'm fully satisfied."

Russian women beat China in 1994 to clinch their only world team title in history. But China has bagged 15 world team titles and has never been beaten in team championships since its defeat to Sweden in 2000.

China, whose players top the world rankings, are expected to make a clean sweep of the gold medals at the Beijing Olympics this summer.

In other Group A matches, DPR Korea beat Croatia 3-0 and will play China on Monday, while the United States, led by the 20th-ranked former Chinese Gao Jun, was fully stretched to down a determined Sweden 3-2.

In Group C, Hong Kong of China hardly broke a sweat in beating Belarus 3-0, Austria defeated Spain by the same score, and Germany held back Thailand 3-1.

(Xinhua News Agency February 24, 2008)

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