The Indian men’s table tennis team got off to a good start at the ITTF World Team Championships Finals, after they beat Uzbekistan 3-0 in their group stage match at Chengdu, China on Saturday.

The women’s team fought valiantly but lost 2-3 to world No 5 ranked team Germany in their opening tie of the contest.

Harmeet Desai started proceedings – fresh from winning gold at the National Games. He came up with a 11-9, 11-9, 11-1 win over Elmurod Kholikov.

Sathiyan Gananasekaran then made it 2-0 to India after an 11-3, 11-6, 11-9 win over Abdulaziz Anorboev, before Manav Thakkar secured the tie with another straight-games 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 win, over Shokhrukh Iskandarov.

The men’s team will next take on world No 2 Germany on Sunday.

In the women’s match, world No 8 Ying Han came up with a 11-3, 11-1, 11-2 win over Manika Batra to put Germany in the lead. Sreeja Akula, who became national champion earlier this year and finished fourth in the women’s singles event of the Commonwealth Games, upset world No 14 Nina Mittelham with a solid 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 win to level the tie for India.

Youngster Diya Chitale then beat the experienced Sabine Winter 3-1 (11-9, 11-8, 6-11, 13-11).

Mittelham then returned to the table and came up with a come-from-behind win over Batra – winning 7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8.

With the scores tied at 2-2, it was down to Han and Akula. But the German showed her experience and the patience that came with her defensive game to unsettle the Indian, winning 11-3, 11-5, 11-4 to seal the tie for the European team.

The Indians next take on the Czech Republic on Sunday.

The format of the contest is such that teams are placed in seven (men’s event) and six (women’s event) groups, with the top two teams automatically making it to the Round of 16. The remaining numbers in the knockouts are made up by the highest ranked third placed teams.