Ace Indian paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal put up a sensational show to progress to the semifinals of two events and the quarter-final of one event events in the table tennis competition of the Commonwealth Games on Friday. The record nine-time national champion, who has as many as 10 CWG medals to his name, entered the men’s singles quarter-finals after beating Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo 4-2 in a thrilling contest. Sharath, 40, also reached the semifinals of mixed and men’s doubles competition along with his respective partners.
He first paired up with young Sreeja Akula to stun two-time silver medallists Liam Pitchford and Tin-Tin Ho of England 3-2 (11-7 8-11 11-8 11-13 11-9) in mixed doubles quarters and then combined with Sathiyan Gnanasekaran to beat another English pair of Tom Jarvis and Sam Walker 3-0 (11-6 11-8 11-4) in men’s doubles event.
Sreeja too dished out superlative performances to progress to the women’s singles semifinals to go with her mixed doubles performance.
The 24-year-old from Hyderabad showed nerves of steel as she scripted a sensational come-from-behind 4-3 win over Mo Zhang of Canada to advance to the semifinals.
She beat Zhang 9-11 11-4 6-11 9-11 11-5 11-4 11-8 in her quarterfinal match.
Gnanasekaran also reached the men’s singles quarters, beating Nicholas Lum 4-2 at the NEC Hall.
Sreeja and Sharath had earlier come from behind to beat Malaysia’s Leond Chee Fang and Ho Ying 5-11 11-2 11-6 11-5, while Sharath and Gnanasekaran eased past Bangladesh’s Bawm Ramhimlian and Ridoy Mohutasin Ahmed 11-6 11-1 11-4 in their round of 16 clash.
Defending champion Manika Batra, however, had a bad day as she suffered a 0-4 defeat against Jian Zeng of Singapore in the women’s singles quarterfinal to bow out of the competition.
Earlier, Manika and Sathiyan had lost 2-3 to Malaysia’s Javen Choong and Karen Lyne, while men’s pairing of Sanil Shetty and Harmeet Desai also ended their campaign with a 0-3 loss to Singapore’s Chew Zhe Yu Clarence and Poh Shao Feng Ethan.
In another result, Sreeja and Reeth Tennison entered the pre-quarterfinals with a 3-0 win over Scotland’s Lucy Elliott and Rebecca Plaistow.
Earlier in the day, Manika and Sreeja had entered the women’s singles quarterfinals.
While the 27-year-old Batra steamrolled Australian Jee Minhyung 11-4 11-8 11-6 12-10 to set up a fight with Singapore’s Jian Zeng, Sreeja played out a nerve-wracking encounter against Charlotte Carey of Wales to secure herself a last eight berth.
However, Manika Batra lost the quarter-finals by 4-0 margin.
The 24-year-old toiled hard but held her nerves to beat Carey 8-11 11-7 12-14 9-11 11-4 15-13 12-10. Meanwhile, Reeth Tennison, bowed out in the women’s singles event after she went down to Singapore’s Feng Tianwei in a round of 16 match.
Tianwei proved too strong for Tennison as the latter was beaten 11-2 11-4 9-11 11-3 11-4.
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