The Indian contingent had a good day at the Asian Table Tennis Championships 2021 in Doha, Qatar on Saturday, with the majority of players progressing in both singles and doubles.
Tokyo Olympians Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sutirtha Mukherjee led by example and won their respective round of 64 singles matches with ease.
In the men’s singles, four-time Olympic veteran Sharath Kamal outclassed Mohammadali Rouintanesfahani of Iran 3-0 (12-10, 11-7, 11-7) while G Sathiyan defeated Naif Al-Jadai of Saudi Arabia without dropping a game (11-3,12-10, 11-1) in the round of 64. Both Indians had received a bye in the first round.
Two other men’s players, Manav Thakkar and Sanil Shetty, also picked up comfortable wins and made it to the round of 32 in the men’s singles. Harmeet Desai, however, was knocked out in the round of 64.
On the other hand, Sutirtha Mukherjee prevailed over Mongolia’s Batmunkh Bolor-Erdene in straight games (11-6, 11-4, 11-4) in the women’s singles to book a place in the round of 32, where she is joined by Archana Kamath, Ayhika Mukherjee and Sreeja Akula.
Doubles teams also advance
Earlier, the pair of Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan made little work of Qatar in the opening match of the day to advance to the round of 16 in the men’s doubles.
Sharath and Sathiyan were then stretched to five sets by the Kazakh duo of Alan Kurmangaliyev and Kirill Gerassimenko in the pre-quarters. The Indians, however, ended with a hard-fought 3-2 (11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7) win.
The second Indian men’s team featuring Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar also sailed to the last eight with convincing wins over Saudi Arabia and Indonesian pairs.
Meanwhile, the women’s pair of Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ayhika Mukherjee made it to the quarter-finals by defeating Chen Szu-Yu and Li Yu-jhun of Chinese Taipei 3-1 (11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9). They had earlier knocked out Kazakhstan in the round of 32.
However, Archana Kamath and Sreeja Akula crashed out in the round of 16 after losing 1-3 (10-12, 7-11, 12-10, 13-15) to Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching of Hong Kong.
The Indian duo had earlier beaten Bangladesh’s Sadia Mou and Sonam Sultana 3-0 (11-5, 11-3, 11-6).
All Indians will be seen in action on Sunday in the quarter-finals of the doubles events, along with the singles matches till the final eight.