Asian Games table tennis: Men reach quarterfinals as women lose in round of 16text_fields
Hangzhou: In a pre-quarterfinal encounter, the Indian men's team defeated Kazakhstan 3-2 after falling short in the first game, while the women's team lost to Thailand by the same score.
Achanta Sharath Kamal, the gold medalist in men's singles at the Commonwealth Games, battled back after dropping the opening match to win the fifth tie and give India the victory.
Sharath had started the match on the wrong foot as he went down to Kiril Gerassimenko 8-11, 11-9, 6-11 and 8-11 in a 33-minute encounter. The Kazakh jumped into a six-point lead in the first game and went on to win the match as he established a five-point lead in the second and third games too.
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran pulled India level with a 14-12, 11-8, 11-4 win over Aidos Kenzhgulov before Harmeet Desai made it 2-1 for India with a 11-7, 12-10, 11-5 win against Alan Kurmangaliyev. Sathiyan, however, could not clinch the quarterfinal place for India in the fourth match as he went down fighting to Kiril Gerassimenko 3-2, fighting back after losing the first game. Sathiyan lost 5-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 5-11, twice coming back after losing a game only to lose the fifth and final game.
However, India could not be denied victory on Sunday as Sharath Kamal found his mojo when it was needed as he overcame Aidos Kenzhiguliov 3-2 in the decider. Sharath Kamal fought back after losing the first two games to win the next three and secure a dramatic victory for India. He eventually won the fifth match 5-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9 in a nerve-jingling thriller.
The Indian men, who had topped their pool with three wins, next face South Korea for a place in the semifinals. Korea had got a bye in the pre-quarters.
Top seeds China, second seeds Japan and Chinese Taipei were the other teams to get a bye in this round. Iran, Hong Kong China and Singapore won their matches to complete the quarterfinal lineup.
In the women's section, India failed to capitalise on a 2-1 lead as Manika Batra lost both her singles matches.
India went down 0-1 when Manika lost to 2021 South East Asian Games winner Orawan Paranang of Thailand in straight games, the 26-year-old experienced player soldier with the Royal Thai Army winning 11-7, 11-1, 13-11.
Ayhika Mukherjee levelled scores for India by beating Suthasini Sawettabut 3-1 (18-16, 11-7, 13-15, 11-9) in a hard-fought encounter.
Sutirtha Mukherjee made it 2-1 for India by defeating Tamolwan Khetkhuan 3-2, coming back from a 1-2 game deficit to win 11-1, 9-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-7 in 49 minutes. Ayhika Mukherjee then lost the fourth match despite winning the first game and having a 2-1 lead. She went down to Orawan Paranang 12-10, 4-11, 11-5, 4-11, 3-11 as Thailand pulled level at two-match each.
Manika Batra won the first game in the decider but then lost the next three in a 12-10, 8-11, 7-11, 6-11 defeat to Suthasini Sawettarbut as India's campaign came to an end in the women's team competition.
It was a rather disappointing day for the women's team as it could have won the pre-quarterfinal. Manika looked a bit off-colour in the first match and once India came under pressure, the players failed to recover.
With inputs from IANS