Olympic bronze medallists Russia were narrowly beaten by Canada in the opening match of the International Swimming Federation's Women's Water Polo World League Super Final in Kunshan today.
Canada prevailed 11-9 in a see-saw encounter at the Kunshan Sports Centre.
They controlled the second half to move ahead and then expertly protected their lead in the final four minutes.
United States, seeking a fifth successive World League successive, overcame a shaky start to beat Japan 14-4 in their opening game elsewhere in Group B.
In Group A, goalkeeper Laura Aarts was supreme as The Netherlands withstood a strong Australian team to win 7-5.
Hosts China were also beaten 12-6 by Spain in the final clash of the day.
Group matches are taking place to determine the quarter-final ties, although all teams will ultimately progress in the eight-team event.
Spain will face The Netherlands in Group A tomorrow before China host Australia.
In Group B, the US and Canada will meet in an all-North American clash after Russia lock horns with Japan.