Chengdu, Dec 5 (IANS): Hosts China and several other favorites got off to a winning start as the inaugural International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Mixed Team World Cup commenced in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province.
According to the competition format of the innovative mixed team tournament, matches will begin with mixed doubles, followed by women's singles and men's singles, and then men's and women's doubles if required. Individual matches last for three games, resulting in either a 3-0 or 2-1 scoreline. Team matches continue until one side secures eight total games for the victory, reports Xinhua.
In Group 1, Lin Gaoyuan/Wang Manyu gifted China three points with an 11-9, 11-2, 11-4 victory over Kristian Karlsson/Christina Kallberg in mixed doubles.
"I felt a bit tense," admitted Lin. "I made full preparation for any difficulty during the team's first match, and tried my best to adjust myself."
Women's world No. 1 Sun Yingsha added another three points by sailing past Linda Bergstrom 11-9, 11-5, 12-10.
"As it was my first match here, I hoped to get into the rhythm at the start. I haven't played against her over the past two years, so I just focused on every point," Sun remarked.
Wang Chuqin closed out China's lopsided win in men's singles by defeating Anton Kallberg 11-6, 11-7 after two games of their duel.
"The competition format is new to everyone, so doing your best and playing every point well is the most important thing," commented Wang.
The other match of the group saw Puerto Rico edge Hong Kong, China 8-7 in a thriller.
Led by Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata, Japan kicked off its campaign in Group 3 with an 8-2 win against Romania before triumphing 8-1 over Australia.
France also registered two victories in a row in the group, first 8-3 over Australia, and then 8-5 over the United States.
In Group 2, Slovakia beat Portugal 8-5, while Germany defeated Egypt 8-3.
Both South Korea and Chinese Taipei notched two straight victories in Group 4.
Competing in Chengdu through Sunday, 18 teams have been divided into four groups, with the winner and runner-up of each group advancing to the second stage.
In the second stage, the top eight teams will be grouped into a single group. Results from the first stage will be carried over, meaning that teams that faced each other earlier in the week won't compete with each other again.