The Indian women’s team went down to world No 1 China after a hard fought 2-3 loss in their 2024 World Team Table Tennis Championships campaign opener in Busan, South Korea on Friday.

Buoyed by two shock victories from Ayikha Mukherjee and Sreeja Akula, the Indians threatened a major upset as they raced to a 2-1 lead before the Chinese women came back to secure the tie.

India started on an unexpected note in the contest as Mukherjee beat world No 1 Sun Yingsha 12-10, 2-11, 13-11, 11-6 to help her team to an 1-0 lead.

Mukherjee, ranked 155 in the world, stunned 23-year-old Sun by handing her a first-ever career defeat in a team event.

Sun, who is a silver medallist from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in singles and the reigning world champion, was taken aback by how quickly the Indian adapted to the conditions.

Mukherjee, who had won a bronze medal in women’s doubles at the Asian Games last year, held her nerves even though she lost the second game 2-11 to walk away with a win, leaving the Indian dugout in a frenzy.

China equalised soon after as world No 4 Wang Manyu beat India’s top ranked Manika Batra 11-3, 11-8, 13-15, 11-7 in the second match of the tie.

However, India edged ahead once again, thanks to Akula.

The 25-year-old Indian defeated world No 2 Wang Yidi 11-7, 11-9, 13-11 in straight games to stun the Chinese side.

While she pocketed the first two games comfortably and opened up a big lead in the third, Yidi forced a comeback. The Indian, however, kept her calm to close off the match after being level at 10-10 and later 11-11.

But the dream run was soon bought to an abrupt end as Batra fell 3-11, 6-11, 13-11, 9-11 loss to Sun in the fourth match of the tie, before Mukherjee went down 9-11, 11-13, 6-11 to Manyu in straight games.

The Indian women’s team will go up against Hungary in their second group match on Saturday.