Ding Ning starts with a win at Olympics
World number one and hot favourite Ding Ning swept through her opening duel at the Olympics on Sunday and said she had to put aside the pressure-cooker atmosphere of representing table-tennis mad China in her maiden Olympic Games.
The world champion underlined her gold-medal credentials with a romping 4-0 win over Romania's Daniela Dodean in the third round having been handed a bye in the opening stages courtesy of her ranking.
As China's number one she not only carries the weight of an expectant nation of table tennis fanatics but also the burden of history as her compatriots have won every women's gold since the sport was introduced to the Games in 1988.
"Of course I felt pressured," Ding said via a translator.
"At the same time I am very prepared and I know I am the number one opponent for all the other players.
"My opponents know that it is very hard to beat the Chinese team so they are prepared to lose.
"Whenever other countries play someone from China, they see us as a target...
"They have nothing to lose because they know we are the best team in the world. I did feel the pressure, but I get support from my team and the people supporting back in China."
Ding looked every inch a potential gold medallist as she wasted little time in wrapping up the match 11-4 11-3 11-9 11-6 in under 30 minutes in front of a rowdy British crowd at the Excel Arena.
Having clinched the world title in Rotterdam last year, she has nothing to fear from an Olympic tournament with a two-woman Chinese team that deprives the Games of some of the world's best players.
Elsewhere South Korea's world number five Kyungah Kim beat Austria's Jia Liu 4-1 and Japan's Ai Fukuhara stormed into the fourth round with a crushing 4-0 win over Russian Anna Tikhomirova.
Ding's main threat for the title is likely to be her team mate and second seed Li Xiaoxia who faces 16-year-old American Ariel Hsing later on Sunday.