World Table Tennis Championships: Indian men beat Kazakhstan, women get better of Egypt to reach last 16
The men's team now needs to beat France in the final group league match to finish on top of group 2 table.
Chengdu: The Indian men’s team, led by seasoned campaigner G Sathiyan, kept its hopes alive for a knock-out stage berth, beating Kazakhstan 3-2 in a closely fought group league tie of the World Table Tennis Championship here on Monday.
For the women’s team, after a heartbreaking close defeat against Germany, Sreeja Akula and company prevailed over Egypt 3-1 to qualify for the pre-quarterfinals.
The men’s team now needs to beat France in the final group league match to finish on top of group 2 table.
In case the Indian team loses to France and Germany happens to beat Kazakhstan, then there will be a three-way tie between India, Germany and France.
After the high of beating Germany, Sathiyan started the new tie in earnest, making short work of Denis Zholudev in straight games. Sathiyan won 11-1, 11-9, 11-5.
However, Harmeet Desai had a poor outing against Kirill Gerassimenko to lose 6-11 8-11 9-11 in quick time.
But, young Manav Thakkar beat Alan Kurmangaliyev 12-10, 11-1, 11-8.
With 2-1 lead, Sathiyan was expected to close the tie in the fourth rubber but Kirill pipped the Indian ace 6-11, 11-5, 12-14, 11-9, 11-6 to restore parity.
However, Harmeet was in his element against Kazakhstan’s weakest link Jholudev whom he beat 12-10, 11-9, 11-6.
In the women’s event, the Commonwealth Games mixed doubles gold medallist Sreeja Akula won the first and fourth rubbers to clinch a place for India in the knock-out stages.
After a poor outing against Germany, Manika Batra won the second rubber while Diya Chitale ended second best against her opponent.
Sreeja beat Goda Han 11-6-11-4, 11-1 and Dina Mishref 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 while Manika struggled past Dina 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 2-11, 11-8 in five games to help India win the match.
The 40-year-old Sharath, who had won the men's singles, mixed doubles and team title at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games recently, opted out due to personal reasons.
Batra failed to bag a medal after crashing out in the quarterfinals of the mixed and women's doubles events
The world number 37 from India defeated his 179th-ranked opponent 11-9, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6 in the round of 64. Sathiyan next faces world number 17 Aruna Quadri of Nigeria in the round of 32.