World number two Fan Zhendong survived a huge scare as main draw action began at the International Table Tennis Federation Qatar Open.
The Chinese player was taken the distance by Sweden's Anton Kallberg at the Aspire Dome in Doha.
Fan, the top seed and a four-time world gold medallist, was behind three times but eventually prevailed 7-11, 11-6, 11-13, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8, 11-3.
Ma Long, China's third seed and reigning Olympic champion, had a better time of it as he eased past Japan's Masataka Morizono, 11-4, 11-4, 11-8, 11-2.
It meant a successful start to the defence of his Qatar Open title.
Xu Xin, China's second seed, was a 4-1 winner as he beat Frane Kojic of Croatia 11-5, 11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6.
His compatriot Lin Gaoyuan, the fourth seed, crashed out, however, to Belarus player Vladimir Samsonov who won 5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7.
Japan's fifth seed Tomokazu Harimoto was shocked by Chinese Taipei's Chih-Yuan Chuang who came from 2-0 down to triumph.
The 15-year-old won the Hungarian Open, the last event on the circuit, in the absence of the powerhouse Chinese who missed the competition due to the coronavirus outbreak.
He came unstuck today, however, losing 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 to exit to Chih in the first round for the second time this season.
China's top women's seed Chen Meng breezed through with a straight games dispatch of Japan's Honoka Hashimoto.
The German Open winner and three-time world champion triumphed 13-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4.
Chinese second seed Yingsha Sun also did not drop a game against Japanese opposition, beating Miyuu Kihara 13-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-7.
Japan's third seed Mima Ito, the Hungarian Open winner, beat China's Yuting Gu 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10, 11-4.
Reigning Olympic champion Ding Ning of China, the sixth seed, beat Monaco's Xiaoxin Yang 11-8, 11-8, 12-10, 11-6.
Competition continues in Doha tomorrow.