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China-U.S. pairs win opening games at world table tennis championships

Updated:2021-11-25 14:45:35

Two Chinese-American pairs, Wang Manyu/Kanak Jha and Lin Gaoyuan/Lily Zhang, have advanced into the next round after winning the opening mixed doubles matches 3-0 at the world table tennis championships finals in Houston, the United States, on Tuesday.

China's Wang and American talent Jha unified to kick off the mixed doubles matches against Russian duo Vladimir Sidorenko and Mariia Tailakova, followed by Lin and Zhang's dominant win over Portugal's Jieni Shao and Tiago Apolonia during the championships being held for the first time in the U.S.

Wang, 22, who shared part of the glorious table tennis team's gold during the Tokyo Olympics this summer, said she felt honored to play in the Houston championships. "I'm very happy and satisfied with the result," she said.

"It's a great opportunity and a great honor for all of us to be a part of 'Ping Pong Diplomacy' and what it means for the history of our two countries," said 21-year-old Jha, who won the U.S. national men's singles title from 2016 to 2019 for record four straight years.

"It was definitely a challenge playing against countries that have already played together many times, but I think that we complement each other's styles well, and we hope to keep getting better through each match," he added.

Lin, who was part of the team that took the gold in 2018 world championships, said he and Zhang were playing a brand-new game. "We were expecting a lot of difficulties in this match, but luckily we played well," he said.

"We hope for the best in the future rounds, I would like to thank all the fans who came to support us. We will try out best to practice and better our games," he said after the game.

Five-time U.S. national champion Zhang said it was an "incredible feeling to have the opportunity to play with Lin Gaoyuan."

"Before the match, he gave me a lot of advice and constantly reassured me during the match. I have a lot of trust in him even though we're a first-time pairing," she added.