WTT Star Contender Doha: Sharath Kamal’s exit ends Indian challenge

Sharath Kamal fought well but went down in straight games to German Dimitrij Ovtachrov.

By Rahul Venkat

Veteran Achanta Sharath Kamal bowed out of the WTT Star Contender Doha in the men’s singles Round of 16 after going down in straight games to Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov on Wednesday.

Sharath Kamal’s 11-9, 11-8, 11-6 loss ended Indian table tennis’ challenge at the tournament after both Manika Batra and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran had been eliminated on Tuesday.

It was a clash of titans at the Lusail Sports Arena when Sharath Kamal and Ovtcharov, who won the WTT Contender Doha last week, took to the table and they produced a competitive first game.

Both players preferred to attack and relied on the other’s reactionary errors to win points. World No. 10 Ovtcharov emerged the more consistent of the two, with his backspin serves causing a few problems for the Indian.

The match continued in the same vein in the second game, as Ovtcharov, a four-time Olympic medallist, was more adept at the cross-court shots, though Sharath Kamal prevailed in the few long rallies.

Three-time Olympian Sharath Kamal did save two game points with solid defensive play but eventually conceded the game when he netted a soft return.

Buoyed by his two-game lead, Ovtcharov looked more confident in his shots in the third game, racing to a 4-0 lead to dominate, not allowing the Indian table tennis legend much of a sniff.

There were a few nervy moments for the German, as Sharath Kamal saved a match point with a rapid backhand attack, and Ovtcharov himself sent a return into the net.

However, Ovtcharov calmed himself down before the final point, taking a long break to wipe his face and had a short chat with his coach before Sharath Kamal, in his bid to attack, put too much power into his shot to hand the German victory.

Lead photo: International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)