Men's paddlers struggle to quarters after women bow out - Hindustan Times
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Men's paddlers struggle to quarters after women bow out

PTI |
Sep 24, 2023 03:00 PM IST

The match against Kazakhstan was locked 2-2 when Sharath Kamal produced a face-saving win in the decisive fifth rubber.

Veteran Acantha Sharat Kamal raised his game just in time to help the Indian men's team escape unscathed against Kazakhstan but the women's table tennis team imploded against a resilient Thailand to bow out of the Asian Games here on Sunday.

File photo of Achanta Sharath Kamal of India.(Getty Images)
File photo of Achanta Sharath Kamal of India.(Getty Images)

Star Indian paddler Manika Batra failed in both her singles matches as the women's team lost 2-3 to a resilient Thailand.

The match against Kazakhstan was locked 2-2 when Sharath Kamal produced a face-saving win in the decisive fifth rubber.

Sharath had lost the opening singles tamely 1-3 ( 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8) to Krill Gerassimenko, the top-ranked player from Kazakhstan. The world No. 78 started briskly and ended in the same vein, despite Sharath winning the second game.

Sathiyan accounted for Aidos Kenzhigulov 14-12 11-8 11-5 to level the score before Harmeet Desai put India ahead. The world No. 69 Indian beat against Alan Kurumangaliyev 11-7, 12-10, 11-5.

However, Sathiyan faced stiff resistance from Krill in their reverse singles, but the world No. 107 struggled, eventually losing 5-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 5-11.

With the scores tied, much depended on the most experienced Sharath in his reverse singles against Aidos.

Sharath Kamal was caught on the wrong foot and lost the first two games but closed Aidos out with a 5-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9 in the decisive rubber.

The Indians, who won a historic bronze in the previous edition, will next meet North Korea in their quarterfinals.

The women went down fighting after Manika Batra fared rather poorly.

The top-ranked Indian at No. 31 lost 7-11, 1-11, 11-13 to left-hander Orawan Paranang, who is ranked No. 67.

But Ayhika Mukherjee repaired the early damage with a significant 18-16, 11-7, 13-15, 11-9 win over Suthasini Sawettabut. And Sutirtha Mukherjee provided the lead when she beat Tamolwan Khetkhuan 11-1, 9-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-7.

Ayhika failed to consolidate the lead after leading 2-1 against Orawan as the Thail left-hander changed her strategy in the last two games to outsmart the Indian 10-12, 11-4, 5-11, 11-4, 11-3.

The entire focus and responsibility shifted to Manika, playing the decisive last rubber. But her struggle in the first game, which she won 12-10, gave a glimpse of not being in the groove.

Finally, Suthasini beat Manika 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6 to put Thailand in the quarters.

Thailand will play North Korea on Sunday for a place in the semifinals.

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