Asian Games: Indian men's & women's table tennis teams advance to knockouts with 3-0 wins
Indian men's and women's table tennis teams overwhelmed Tajikistan and Nepal in their final group stage ties as they advanced to the Round of 16.
Indian men's and women's table tennis teams advanced to the Round of 16 as the group toppers following their identical 3-0 win over Nepal and Tajikistan in their respective Pool F ties on Saturday.
Following their win over Yemen and Singapore on Friday, the Indian men's team, the bronze medallist of the 2018 Asian Games, made a quick work of Tajikistan to secure an entry into the knockouts.
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Achanta Sharath Kamal were rested.
Opening the contest, Manav Thakkar got the better of Mahmudov Afzalkhon 3-0.
In the first game, a topsy turve action followed, with Manav getting off to a blitzkreig start with a 9-8 lead before taking 1-0 lead in the match at 11-8.
Manav, with his wristy flicks and spins, overwhelmed Mahmudov in the second game 11-5. In the third game too, Manav, the world no. 86, broke away to a 10-7 from 7-7. He wrapped the match at 11-8.
With India leading 1-0 in the tie, young Manush Shah survived a scare against Ubaydullo Sultonov.
The 18-year-old Indian trailed 5-7 in the first game and then 7-9. Despite lacking exprience, Manush held on to his nerves to force a deuce and won the game 13-11.
In the second game, Manush made a slow start to draw level at 5-5 befoe unleashing a brilliant spin to gain a 7-5 lead. He would quickly earn four points to win the game 11-8.
The Gujarat paddler broke away to a 6-3 lead in the third game and handed Sultonov a 11-5 defeat. With this win, India too a 2-0 lead in the contest.
Harmeet Desai, the top-ranked men's singles player in India at world no. 69, made it 3-0 cleansweep for India with a 14-minute win over Ibrokhim Ismoilzoda.
Dominating the match from the word go, Harmeet registered a comfortable 11-1, 11-3, 11-5 win to take India through to the Round of 16.
Women's team overwhelms Nepal
Earlier, Diya Chitale, Ayhika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee won their second Pool F contest against Nepal in identical fashion.
With Manika Batra and Sreeja Akula resting, Diya opened the contest for India women with an 11-1, 11-6, 11-8 win over Sikka Shrestha.
Ayhika would school Nabita Shrestha with a 15-minute win in the following match. The Indian's anti-spin rubber and deceptions kept the Nepalese paddler guessing throughout the contest. Ayhika would eventually win 11-3, 11-7, 11-2.
Sutirtha would complete the thrashing of Nepal in 14 minutes in the third match as she beat Evana Thapa Magar 11-1, 11-5, 11-2.