World Team Table Tennis Championships 2018, Day 3 round-up: Indian women disappoint, men on the cusp of knockout stage
The group stages of the Liebherr 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships are about to conclude in Sweden.
The Indian players have shown signs of fatigue and their performance has not been up to par when compared with the top-notch performances they had produced at the Commonwealth Games 2018.
The Indian men faced Croatia whereas the women faced Belarus and Russia on Day three.
There were multiple instances where the Indian women had the chance to kill the game. However, they were unable to do so and gave away points at the most crucial instances. The Indian men's team, on the other hand, has finally managed to get a strong foothold.
Let's see how each of the contingents fared:
Men’s Group Stage
The Indian men faced Croatia in their only match of Day 3. There was a spectacular turn of events as India came from 2-0 down to ultimately win the tie 3-2. Sathiyan, who had not looked even close to his best throughout the tournament, came out with flying colours as he defeated Andrej Gacina of Croatia 3-0 in the fourth rubber. This was a tight rubber indeed and Sathiyan kept his cool when he got the game points, winning 12-10, 12-10, 11-7.
The World Rank 39, Gacina had earlier defeated Achanta Sharath Kamal 3-1 in the first rubber. In the second rubber, though, Sathiyan had lost 1-3 to Pucar Tomislav to give Croatia a 2-0 lead. Harmeet Desai kept the Indian contingent in the hunt as he beat Kojic Frane 3-2 in the third rubber.
Finally, the responsibility to win the tie rested on the Indian legend, Achanta's shoulders as he went up against Tomislav in the fifth and final rubber. With the tie balanced at 2-2, this rubber went down to the wire, thus making the contest extremely enjoyable and nerve-wracking.
Achanta showed his class as he won the rubber 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 10-12, 11-5, ensuring India stays in contention for the knock-out stages. The Indian men are currently tied with three other teams in the group with 6 points each.
Indians faced tough competition as they had France, Poland, and Korea and Croatia in Group D. All these teams are extremely competitive however the Indian paddlers, led by Achanta have been up to the challenge and have won two out of their four matches until now.
Women’s Group Stage
The Indian women have looked the complete opposite of the Indian men. While the men have managed to keep their head and come out shining with a few impressive wins, the female paddlers lost both their encounters on Day 3, adding to the misery and finally, ending their group stage run with all five defeats.
After three drubbings by China, Sweden, and Singapore on the initial two days of the competition, the Indian women really needed to pull all their tricks out of the bag to end the group stage on a high. However, Day 3 was no different and India lost 0-3 to Belarus and 1-3 to Russia.
The loss against Belarus was another shock defeat as the Indian women are much better ranked comparatively. Madhurika Patkar came close to winning in her rubber against Daria Trigolos of Belarus but could not show the determination in the final game as she lost 2-3. Even Manika Batra, who is ranked 58th lost to World No. 209 Nadezhda Bogdanova of Belarus. She lost 11-4, 12-10, 3-11, 10-12. She could not use her long pimpled rubber to much effect as she had used at the Commonwealth Games 2018.
Manika did, however, manage to win a rubber in the match against Russia, defeating Yana Noskova 12-10, 11-6, 11-3. All-in-all, an extremely disappointing performance by the Indian women.