Anthony Amalraj’s surprise loss to Australia’s David Powell proved a wake-up call and India gave nothing away for the rest of the day to qualify for the quarterfinal league of the men’s team event of the Commonwealth table tennis championship here on Sunday.
Sharath Kamal went on to win both his matches to emerge as the mainstay of India’s 3-1 triumph in the campaign-opener. In the afternoon, Amalraj, Sharath and Soumyajit Ghosh got it right against South Africa for a 3-0 victory.
Amalraj was too rusty against Powell and lost in straight games. Sharath started well against Kane Townsend but committed too many unforced errors in the second game. Sharath, however did not allow his rival to come too close in the decider to help India draw level.
Ghosh controlled the match admirably against Wade Townsend before Sharath returned to produce his best of the day against Powell and sealed the tie.
In the ladies section, India had an easier time. If the trio of Mouma Das, K. Shamini and Neha Aggarwal brushed aside Sri Lanka for the loss of a single game, the duo of Shamini and Mouma did the needful against Canada which was allowed to play the first stage with just two players.
Later, Sri Lanka surprised Canada to enter the last-eight stage. Nuwani Vithangae and veteran Ishara Madurangi defeated Fu Shirley by turns to set up the victory. In between, Canada’s Yuen Sara had kept alive the match by beating Ishara.
In the quarterfinal league on Monday, India, clubbed with favourite Singapore, Scotland and Wales in group ‘E’, will have finish at least second to enter the semifinals.
Quarterfinal league groups: Men: Group ‘E’: Singapore, England, Australia Wales. Group ‘F’: India, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Malaysia.
Women: Group ‘E’: Singapore, India, Scotland and Wales; Group ‘F’: England, Malaysia, Australia and Sri Lanka.
The results (team championship):
Men: Group ‘A’: Singapore bt Northern Ireland 3-0; Singapore received a walkover from Nigeria; Singapore bt Maldives 3-0; Northern Ireland received a walkover from Nigeria; Northern Ireland bt Maldives 3-0; Maldives received a walkover from Nigeria.
Group ‘B’: India beat Australia 3-0 (A. Amalraj lost to David Powell 7-11, 8-11, 8-11; Sharath Kamal bt Kane Townsend 11-5, 13-11, 11-8; Soumyajit Ghosh bt Wade Townsend 11-3, 11-6, 11-7); Australia bt South Africa 3-0; India beat South Africa 3-0 (Sharath Kamal bt Kurt 11-9, 11-5, 11-5; A. Amalraj bt Luke Abrahams 11-9, 12-10, 11-5; Soumyajit Ghosh bt Theo Cogill 11-5, 11-6, 11-4).
Group ‘C’: England bt Malaysia 3-1; New Zealand bt Canada 3-1; England bt New Zealand 3-0.
Group ‘D’: Scotland bt Sri Lanka 3-0; Scotland bt Wales 3-1.
Women: Group ‘A’: Singapore bt Australia 3-0; Singapore bt South Africa 3-0.
Group ‘B’: England bt Wales 3-0; England bt New Zealand 3-0.
Group ‘C’: India beat Canada 3-0 (K. Shamini bt Yuen Sara 11-5, 11-5, 11-7; Mouma Das bt Fu Shirley 11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 14-12; Madhurika Patkar w/o Zhang Mo); India beat Sri Lanka 3-0 (Mouma Das bt Ishara Madurangi 13-15 11-5, 11-3, 11-4; K. Shamini bt Nuwani Vithanage 11-7, 14-12, 11-8; Neha Aggarwal bt Ridhmi Karadanaarachchi 11-4, 11-6, 11-5); Sri Lanka bt Canada 3-1.
Group ‘D’: Malaysia w/o Nigeria; Malaysia bt Scotland 3-1; Scotland bt Maldives 3-0; Maldives w/o Nigeria; Malaysia bt Maldives 3-0; Scotland w/o Nigeria.