Watch: Still rocking at 35, Achanta Sharath Kamal registers historic upset for India against World No 7
Sharath Kamal beat Kiko Niwa of Japan 4-1 in the first round of Qatar Open.
India's very own table tennis hero Achanta Sharath Kamal continued his rich vein of form at the 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open on Thursday as he caused a major upset in the first round.
Having progressed safely through the qualification tournament with a series of impressive performances, the 35-year-old star was brimming with confidence when he took on World No 7 Koki Niwa.
Whether it was the confidence or just a day where it all went right, Sharath registered a massive 4-1 victory against the Japanese, winning 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 14-12, 11-9.
Not only did Sharath beat a top-10 player but also he finally overcame an adversary against whom he does not have a good track record, and even that is a major understatement. He had never beaten the Japanese before; last year, at the Asian Championships in the Men’s Team event he had three match points and yet, lost.
Here you can watch the video highlights from the match:
As we can see, Sharath was in top form on the day. All the forehand and backhand topspins were being executed to perfection as the Indian paddler produced an aggressive game. However, he went on to lose the first game as an unforced error cost him dearly.
But from the second game onwards, Sharath took complete control of the match. He had an answer for everything Niwa threw at him. After winning the match, the Indian exulted with joy. After all, it was probably the biggest win of his career and also, the biggest in Indian table tennis in recent memory.