Setback for Indian men, but women make amends in World TT

Kuala Lumpur, March 1 (IANS) It was a setback for the Indian men who went down 0-3 to Nigeria in their Group F third round match in Second Division of the World Table Tennis Championships here on Tuesday.

However, the Indian women’s team made amends to enter the fourth round by beating Portugal 3-0 this morning.

After two successive wins, it was expected from India, led by Achanta Sharath Kamal, to put up some fight but higher-ranked Nigeria were up to the task.

Soumyajit Ghosh lost the opening match to Aruna Quadri 5-11, 4-11, 3-11 in what was an abject surrender. But somehow, Sharath stood firm against Segun Toriola and even managed to take a game off his opponent before going down 13-15, 6-11, 13-11, 5-11.

With two rubbers already down, it was difficult for India to stage a recovery. Yet, Anthony Amalraj tried his best and put up some fight before losing 13-11, 8-11, 9-11, 8-11.

The men still have two matches in their group against Switzerland on Wednesday and Slovakia on Thursday. They will need to beat both to enter the main draw.

It was no surprise that the women’s team had been keeping a clean slate so far and their win over Portugal in the third round became a formality after Manika Batra provided her team with the advantage.

Manika began sedately against Leila Oliverira but did well in the decider to put her opponent in place in a stretched first rubber. With both players adopting a safety-first approach, the match swung from one extreme to another with the players sharing the spoils.

However, with the decider fought on an even keel, Manika showed gumption to stay ahead of Leila and that helped her win 11-5, 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9.

The 1-0 lead came in handy for India as Mouma Das, putting behind her disappointing show on Monday, accounted for Catia Martins 11-5, 11-9, 11-6. K. Shamini carried on her good form to beat Patricia Maciel 11-1, 11-4, 11-9 for another thumping win.

The Indian women next play Nigeria before they wind up their Group G affairs with a match against Croatia on Thursday.

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