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Table Tennis

WTT Contender Doha: Sharath Kamal sails into semifinals

In the semifinals, Sharath will take on Chinese Yuan Licen, who is ranked 264

Sharath Kamal Table Tennis

Sharath Kamal (World Table Tennis)



Updated: 23 March 2022 2:35 PM GMT

Veteran Sharath Kamal finally made the men's singles medal round in a major championship when he entered the semifinals of the WTT Contender Doha on Wednesday. He was the lone Indian, ranked No. 41, in the fray after beating Tomislav Pucar of Croatia 11-8, 11-7, 11-4, following the exit of G Sathiyan, in the first round.

However, Sathiyan and Manika Batra combined well to reach the final of the mixed doubles. The pair, ranked No. 7 in the world, accounted for Hong Kong's Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Ken 3-2. The Croat, just a place ahead of Sharath in the world rankings, failed to contend with the Indian onslaught in the quarterfinals and was error-prone on the day.

The closest he came to Sharath was in the first game in which he managed eight points, and one less in the second. However, in the third, Sharath ran into a sizable lead and maintained it throughout to win it in style. In the semifinals, Sharath will take on Chinese Yuan Licen, who is ranked 264. But it was the same Chinese who accounted for Sathiyan on Monday when he decimated the Indian 11-5, 11-6, 14-12.

Other men's paddlers that could not make it to the main draw of the men's singles included Manav Thakkar, Harmeet Desai, SFR Snehit and Mudit Dani. The win in the semifinals by the mixed duo against the world No. 4 pair was indeed creditable, particularly after the way the Indians kept their hopes alive when the Hong Kong pair levelled the score 2-2, taking the issue to the decider.

In the crucial fifth game, they stopped their opponents well short to win the match 13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8. In the final on Thursday, they will meet the top seeded pair from Taipei -- Cheng I-Ching and Lin Yun-Ju.

In the women's singles, Manika Batra tasted defeat in the first round of the main draw, bowing out to Chinese Fan Siqi 7-11, 5-11, 6-11. Ranked 81, the Chinese proved to be a tough nut to crack for the 48th ranked Indian. Among the women paddlers, except for Archana Kamath and Sutirtha Mukherjee, all others folded in earlier rounds, including Sreeja Akula, Krittwika Sinha Roy and Prapti Sen.

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