Following a strong statement on the opening day of the 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, the Indian contingent experienced contrasting results on Monday as the men’s team progressed to the Champion Division only to lose out to a strong Japanese challenge.
The women’s team, on the other hand, failed to even go past the first division.
A hard-fought battle
After dismantling Kuwait and Sri Lanka earlier in the tournament, the men’s team got the better of Saudi Arabia 3-1 in the quarter-final of Division 1.
The likes of Achanta Sharath Kamal and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran didn’t have to break a sweat in their respective ties, but Harmeet Desai went down against Abdulaziz Bu Shulaybi after putting up a good fight. Gnanasekaran eventually put the game to bed to set up a semi-final clash against Thailand.
Although a 3-0 victory over Thailand seems like an easy route, the Thai paddlers gave the Indians a run for their money. Facing Padasak Tanviriyavechakul, veteran Sharath Kamal was forced to stretch his match to five games. A hard-fought 3-2 (11-6, 6-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-2) win, however, set India on a positive note.
26-year-old Gnanasekaran took on Supanut Wisutmaythangkoon, and a 3-1 win (9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-1) further put India in a comfortable position. Harmeet Desai did the rest by defeating Yanapong Panagitgun 3-2 (11-3, 9-11, 5-11, 13-11, 13-11), as India cruised to the quarter-finals of the Champion Division.
As a stern Japanese test awaited, the Indian paddlers stumbled in their conquest. Losing out 1-3, only Gnanasekaran – who defeated Tomokazu Harimoto in the opening tie – showed promise while the rest disappointed.
The experienced Kamal put up a fight, but Maharu Yoshimura did enough to bring Japan back into the game with an 11-8, 10-12, 11-5, 14-12 win. Desai, too, showed some promise, but Takuya Jin was simply too hot to handle. Harimoto hammered the final nail in India’s coffin by registering a one-sided 11-7, 11-0, 11-0 victory over Kamal.
Women bow out
Following a clean sweep against Lebanon and Jordan on Monday, the Indian women’s team extended their winning run by defeating Uzbekistan 3-0 in the quarter-final of Division 1 to set up a semi-final against Thailand.
Unlike the men, the women’s team defeated the Uzbeks with ease. The rout started with Archana Kamath getting the better of Rimma Gufranova in straight games 11-8, 11-4, 11-6. Manika Batra continued from there to beat Regina Kim 11-3, 11-1, 11-6. Ayhika Mukherjee, meanwhile, did the rest as India went through to face Thailand in the semi-final.
A lowly performance against the Thai team (0-3) resulted in India bowing out of the tournament.