World Team Table Tennis Championships 2018, Day 1 round-up: India off to disappointing start
The Indian men took on France while the women faced China and Sweden.
Following a successful outing at the Commonwealth Games, the Indian Table Tennis contingent looked confident ahead of their upcoming challenge at the World Team Table Tennis Championships. This World Championship is very significant as both the men and women's team are competing in the Championship Division and a good showing will help them in qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
The Indian eves led by Manika Batra have been placed in Group A alongside China, Russia, Belarus, and Singapore. On the other hand, the men’s team face a stiff competition in Group D with countries like France, Poland, and Korea.
Men’s Group Stage
This was the first time the men's team is playing in the Championship Division. Shouldering great expectations, the Indian paddlers came close to causing a major upset.
Sharath Kamal Achanta showed great character and nerves to beat both Emmanuel Lebesson and Simon Gauzy in decisive thrillers.
However, those proved to be the only wins for India. In the vital concluding match of the fixture, Emmanuel Lebesson beat Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (11-13, 11-4, 11-9, 11-3) to secure a French success.
Women’s Group Stage
In the women’s segment, for the recently crowned Commonwealth Games champions it was a complete reversal of the fortunes experienced two weeks ago on Australia’s Gold Coast. The Indian eves succumbed to a heavy 3-0 defeat in their first match against China.
In the first encounter, Mouma Das went down to Ding Ning in straight sets. Next up was India’s Commonwealth Games hero, Manika Batra as she took on World No. 5 Manyu Wang. However, the 22-year old Indian paddler failed to repeat the success as she went down fighting 12-10, 11-9, 11-5 to give China a 2-0 lead over India.
It was then up to Madhurika Patkar to save the match, but she could do only little against the World No. 1 Chen Meng.
In their second fixture of the day, the Indian eves suffered the same fate. The women paddlers failed to revive their fortunes from the earlier defeat and ended up losing to Sweden 3-1.