Achanta Sharath Kamal sails into semi-finals at table tennis nationals

Sharath Kamal got the better of Anthony Amalraj while defending champion Harmeet Desai was stunned in the Round of 16.

By Rahul Venkat ·

Veteran Indian table tennis player Achanta Sharath Kamal took one step closer to a record-extending tenth title at the 82nd Senior National Table Tennis Championships on Monday.

Achanta Sharath Kamal beat former national champion and world No. 99 Anthony Amalraj 11-8, 11-3, 5-11, 13-11, 11-2 in the quarter-finals at the Tau Devi Lal Indoor Stadium in Panchkula, Haryana.

Sharath Kamal, representing the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) began slowly, committing a few unforced errors to give Anthony Amalraj an early lead in the first game. However, he soon found his groove, bringing out his typical attacking play and targeting his opponent’s backhand to take the opening game.

Current world No. 32 Sharath Kamal then dominated the second game but Anthony Amalraj came into his own in the third, as he dealt with Sharath Kamal’s attacks better and found some good return angles to pull a game back.

However, Achanta Sharath Kamal did not let that affect him. He expertly slowed the pace of his returns and surprised Anthony Amalraj with some powerful smashes at times.

Though Amalraj competed well in the fourth game, he eventually lost and looked off the pace in the fifth as Sharath Kamal wrapped up a fairly comfortable victory.

It was Sharath Kamal’s third win of the day after earlier beating Sougata Sarkar and Parth Virmani.

Meanwhile, reigning national champion Harmeet Desai suffered a shock exit in the Round of 16 at the hands of qualifier Snehit Rafeeque Fidel of Telangana.

The left-handed Harmeet Desai, representing PSPB, lost 11-9, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5.

Snehit Fidel then pulled off another upset win over Sushmit Sriram to set up a semi-final clash with world No. 37 Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, one of the favourites to win his maiden national title this year, won all three of his matches.

Rounding off the semi-final line-up was impressive youngster Manav Thakker of PSPB. Manav Thakker beat Raj Mondal, Nitin Phillips, and Ronit Bhanja to sail into the last four, where he will take on Achanta Sharath Kamal.