Sharath reaches second round at World TT

Paris, May 15 (IANS) On a difficult day for India at the World Table Tennis Championships, Sharath Kamal proved to be the lone flag-bearer of the country when he defeated Spaniard Carlos Machado in men’s singles first round here Wednesday.

Except for the top-ranked Indian at 69, all other paddlers made exit including Soumyajit Ghosh, Anthony Amalraj besides women players Mouma Das, Shamini Kumaresan and Madhurika Patkar.

Sharath defeated world No. 106 Spaniard 4-2 (11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9) to advance to the second round while Amalraj lost to a higher-ranked (22) Koki Niwa in straight sets of 5-11, 4-11, 8-11, 7-11.

Ghosh too lost his first round battle against world No. 2 Ma Long as the Chinese proved too hot for the Indian. The Chinese won 11-8, 11-4, 11-3, 11-9.

The Indian challenge in the women’s singles came to an end as Shamini was outclassed by Italian Nikoleta Stefanova 4-11, 5-11, 7-11, 9-11.

Madhurika managed to take a game off her opponent Wing Nam NG before going down 8-11, 4-11, 8-11, 12-10, 3-11 triumph.

Mouma Das, who began promisingly, went down to another Hong Kong girl, Ho Ching Lee. The world No. 37 paddler outlasted her Indian rival 7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5.

There was some hope in the mixed doubles as the Soumyajit Ghosh-Mouma Das pair secured a spot in the round of 32 with a win over Russian duo of Alexander Shibaev and Elana Troshneva 16-14, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8.

But in the next round they will be running into Peng Tang and Wing Nam NG, a strong pair from Hong Kong.

Life was not easy for the other pairs — Sharath-Shamini and Amalraj-Madhurika.

Sharath and Shamini were defeated by Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Slja 0-4 and the Japanese duo of Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa accounted for Amalraj and Madhurika 4-2.

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