Australia needed a penalty shootout to defeat China 11-9 in the Asia-Oceania segment of the FINA World League women's water polo campaign in Tianjin, China.
In an epic struggle in which the Chinese led for most of the game, Australia took the lead in the last 12 seconds through a Bronwen Knox goal.
China responded in the dying moments to level the scores at 7-7 and send the game into penalty shootout.
China struggled with the pressure and missed three shots, including a two-handed save by goalkeeper Alicia McCormack, while Australia had a perfect record to win 11-7, not needing the fifth attempt.
The win continued the Aussie Stingers unbeaten run in the pool in which they won the World Cup two years ago.
Australia now plays Japan, followed by a second round to decide which two teams advance to next months Super Finals in Spain.
Japan lost to China B 11-6 in the other game of the series.
FINA World League, Asia-Oceania, women, Tianjin, China, day 2: Australia 11 (G Beadsworth, B Knox 3, K Gynther 2, R Rippon, M Rippon, G Hadley) China 9, China B 11 Japan 6.