The Indian women pulled off a stunning 3-1 win over Australia in the quarterfinals of the Commonwealth Games table tennis event at the Yamuna Sports Complex here on Wednesday.
Mouma Das wasn't herself in the first match against Jian Fang Lay. The forehand smashes which are her forte were few and far between against an opponent, who didn't have any noticeable armour expect for a whiplash of a backhand. Mouma lost 7-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11.
K. Shamini put India back in the hunt with a scintillating 4-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 win over Miao Miao. Then, Poulomi Ghatak took charge and seemed to revel under pressure; her high toss services, the classical forehand and backhand top-spin shots were spot on from the first point.
Ghatak gave India a 2-1 lead with an 11-9, 11-4, 11-5 win over Zhewnhua Vivian Tan. Shamini probably played her best match of the Games in the fourth rubber. She didn't hesitate to attack at crucial junctures and her 4-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 victory put India in the semifinals where it will meet England.
Defending champion Singapore also breezed into the semifinals drubbing Nigeria 3-0. Singapore hasn't lost a match so far in the Games. With the top four players in the World's top 25, what else can one expect? Singapore will face Malaysia in the semifinals.
Malaysian women edged out New Zealand 3-2 to enter the last four. Malaysia's best player Lee Wei Beh turned out to be the saviour for her team. She is a reassuring presence for the rest of the paddlers. She hardly shouts after a point or makes a gesture. For her size, Beh, ranked 125, moves quite well, but it's her blocks and placements that are her trumpcards. Her victories over Annie Yang in the opening rubber and the crucial triumph over Karen Li, one of the most experienced players having played in the 2002 edition, in the fourth that tilted the scales in Malaysia's favour.
According to the men's draw of 16, Singapore, India, Nigeria and England have been given a bye to the quarterfinals beginning on Thursday. India takes on South Africa.
The results: Men (preliminaries): Wales bt Mauritius 3-0; Scotland bt Kenya 3-0; England bt Tanzania 3-0; Nigeria bt Uganda 3-0; Canada bt St. Lucia 3-0; Sri Lanka bt Guernsey 3-1; Guyana bt Vanuatu 3-0; Singapore bt Maldives 3-0; India w/o Dominica; Australia bt Ghana 3-0; South Africa bt Kirbati 3-0.
Women (quarterfinals): Singapore bt Nigeria 3-0; Malaysia bt New Zealnd 3-2; India bt Australia 3-1; England bt Canada 3-1.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games 2010