Defending champions India kept the ball rolling with a 3-0 win over Nigeria in the men’s team table tennis event semi-finals at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham on Monday.
India fielded the same line-up against Nigeria, the 2018 CWG finalists, from their win against Bangladesh in the last game.
India’s top-ranked singles player Sathiyan Gnanasekaran teamed up with Harmeet Desai for the first doubles fixture against Bode Abiodun and Olajide Omotayo at the National Exhibition Centre and won the match 3-0 (11-6, 11-7, 11-7).
Sharath Kamal, who is playing his fifth CWG, then tamed the fiery world No. 15 Quadri Aruna 3-1 (11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 15-13) to give India a 2-0 lead.
Sharath Kamal, ranked 39th, edged past the highest-ranked player at the CWG 2022 in the first game courtesy of his solid defence. Quadri Aruna, however, used his power to mount a comeback in the second game.
Sharath Kamal had to toil hard for every point in the third game but the Indian warhorse regained the upper hand.
In a fiercely contested fourth game, Sharath Kamal despite trailing at one stage, refused to give up and eventually came out as a winner.
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, ranked 35th, then denied any opening to world No. 112 Olajide Omotayo and got the job done tactically by winning 3-1 (11-9, 4-11, 11-6,11-8).
In the final, India will face their Group 3 opponents and 2014 CWG champions Singapore on Tuesday. The Indian team had handed Singapore a 3-0 drubbing in the group stage earlier in the competition.
The men’s singles and doubles table tennis events at Birmingham 2022 will begin on Wednesday.