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Table Tennis World Championships: India men, women enter third round

The Indian men's and women's teams notched up contrasting wins on their way to the third round

Anthony Amalraj
Anthony Amalraj in an earlier competition

Both the Indian men’s and women’s teams continued their fine start to their campaign at the World Table Tennis Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur as they booked their places in the third round of the Second Division on Monday. While the men sailed through 3-0 over Turkey without any hassle in Group F, the women had to overcome an early wobble to post a 3-1 win over Puerto Rico in Group G.

World No. 69 and former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Achanta Sharath Kamal was in impeccable form as he took on Ibrahim Gunduz, a player ranked 353rd in the world. As expected, the Indian had no trouble and emerged a comfortable 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 winner over the Turkish player.

The 89th ranked Soumyajit Ghosh then took the court and made short work of Gencay Menge 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 to put India 2-0 ahead.

Anthony Amalraj had a tougher outing as the National champion had to stage a fightback to edge past Abdullah Yigenler 11-13, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7.

Next up for the Indian men paddlers is Nigeria in the third round. The Nigerian team too has won both their opening two matches at this event and would present a tough challenge.

Earlier, India had blanked Vietnam 3-0 in their first round on Sunday.

Women’s team recovers after faltering early

However, on the women’s side, it did not start the same way for India as veteran Mouma Das, ranked 166th, lost a four-game encounter to the No. 1 player from Puerto Rico, Adriana Diaz. The World No. 100 showed nerves of steel and some thunderous pace to come back from a game down and win the match, 5-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-9.

Mouma’s teammates then came to the rescue to win the next three matches. World No. 228 K. Shamini had the tougher task as she came through 12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5 over a feisty, lower-ranked Melanie Diaz. In the next match, Madhurika Patkar trounced Daniely Rios, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7.

Shamini then played a brilliant match to overcome a gulf of 128 ranking places and reign supreme 11-7, 13-11, 8-11, 11-8 over Adriana Diaz in her reverse singles. The Indian’s tremendous anticipation and guile were full on display as she helped India notched up the 3-1 victory.

On Sunday, the Indian women’s team had got off to a grand start with a 3-0 triumph over Colombia. Their third round opponents are the relatively easier Portugal, who have won one match and lost the other so far.

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