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Top seed Ding wins first battle in London

(Xinhua)

10:40, July 30, 2012

LONDON, July 29 (Xinhua) -- China's top seed Ding Ning defeated Romania's Daniela Dodean 4-0 in her Olympic debut on Sunday, marching toward the top of Olympic podium.

"This is my first match so I was a little bit nervous, especially when I entered the arena. But I soon managed to control myself after the match started," said Ding, who achieved her first victory within 27 minutes.

Ding closed the first two sets quickly, winning 11-4 and 11-3. Dodean got the upper hand briefly in the third set. The two tied four times and Ding finished the set in 11-9. The fourth set ended in 11-6.

Ding said Dodean changed her strategy after losing two sets and she was a little slow in coping with Dodean's changes. "But it's quite normal so I wasn't worried."

Even though the result was not something unexpected, Dodean said she was disappointed for not having won one or two sets.

"It was difficult. I was hoping it would be tough for her because it was her first game, but it wasn't. But I am pleased I received her serve well. We had some matches before and I didn't do so well. I am happy about that."

Born in 1990, Ding won the women's singles title at both last year's World Championships and the World Cup. Current world No. 1, she is seen as China's best shot at gold in women's singles in London.

Ding's next opponent is Hong Kong's Jiang Huajun, world No. 20. Jiang, 28, was a former member of China's national table tennis team.

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