Indians won a marathon battle against Chinese Taipei for a place in the semifinals against China in the Asian junior table tennis championship here on Thursday.

The 3-2 triumph saw India retain its place in the semifinals and ensure a medal.

In the deciding rubber, Harmeet Desai squandered a 9-7 lead in the opening game against World No.8 Hung Tzu-Hsiang. He was brilliant after that. From 4-8, Harmeet won seven points on the trot to complete India's memorable victory.

It was Ghosh, ranked 24th, who showed the way, defeating Hung Tzu-Hsiang in the opening singles. However, Harmeet's defeat to Lee Chia-Sheng, who is ranked 10 placed below at 46, was somewhat of a .

The crucial third singles saw Commonwealth Youth champion G. Sathiyan blow away a two-game lead, but bounce back in the decider to tame Hsu Chia-Liang. Ghosh, who led 10-8, but dropped the opening game 11-13 against Lee Chia-Sheng, never really looked like winning. Harmeet raised his game when it mattered.

Earlier, the Indian boys did well to head Group 1.

Having blanked Jordan 3-0, India scored a creditable 3-1 victory over the formidable Hong Kong and then went on to top the group with an expected 3-0 drubbing of Iran.

As expected, the Indian girls could not go beyond the quarterfinal-stage after running into defending champion China. Since five qualifying spots are available for the World Championships, Indian girls can still top the four-team play-off to grab the fifth spot.

The results: Team championship: Junior boys: China bt Singapore 3-0; India beat Chinese Taipei 3-2 (Soumyajit Ghosh bt Hung Tzu-Hsiang 11-9, 5-11, 12-10, 12-10; Harmeet Desai lost to Lee Chia-Sheng 11-7, 8-11, 3-11, 7-11; G. Sathiyan bt Hsu Chia-Liang 12-10, 11-8, 4-11, 8-11, 11-7; Ghosh lost to Lee Chia-Sheng 11-13, 8-11, 11-7, 4-11; Desai bt Hung Tzu-Hsiang 14-16, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8); Korea bt Hong Kong 3-0; Japan bt Thailand 3-0.

League: Group 1: India bt Jordon 3-0 (Harmeet bt Abo Yaman Zaid 11-3, 11-7, 11-8; Sathiyan bt Zeyad Aldmaisy 11-6, 11-8, 11-7; Sourav Saha bt Tariq Salameh 11-4, 11-6, 11-5); Thailand bt Iran 3-2; India bt Hong Kong 3-1 (Soumyajit lost to Mak King Ho 13-11, 11-8, 2-11, 6-11, 9-11; Harmeet bt Chiu Chung Hei 11-8, 10-12, 11-5, 12-10; Sathiyan bt Hung Daryl 8-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-2; Soumyajit bt Chiu Chung Hei 8-11, 11-9, 14-12, 13-11); Iran bt Jordon 3-0; India bt Iran 3-0 (Soumyajit bt M. Rouintanesfahani 11-6, 11-7, 11-9; Sathiyan bt Seyed Omrani 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5; Saha bt A. Molarajabi 6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-5); Hong Kong bt Thailand 3-0. Group 2: Chinese Taipei bt Sri Lanka 3-0; Singapore bt Iraq 3-0; Korea bt Kazakhstan 3-0; Taipei bt Singapore 3-0; Korea bt Sri Lanka 3-0; Kazakhstan bt Iraq 3-1; Korea bt Taipei 3-1; Singapore bt Kazakhstan 3-0.

Junior girls: Quarterfinals: China bt India 3-0 (Zhu Yuling bt Mallika Bhandarkar 11-6, 11-8, 11-2; Zhao Yan bt Manika Batra 11-6, 11-4, 11-6; Gu Yuting bt Reeth Rishya Tennison 11-4, 11-3, 11-2); Chinese Taipei bt Singapore 3-2; Korea bt Hong Kong 3-0; Japan bt Thailand 3-1.

League: Group 1: Hong Kong bt Kazakhstan 3-0; Singapore bt Qatar 3-0; Singapore bt India 3-1; Kazakhstan bt Qatar 3-0. Group 2: Korea bt Thailand 3-0; Chinese Taipei bt Sri Lanka 3-0; Iran bt Jordan 3-0; Korea bt Chinese Taipei 3-1; Thailand bt Iran 3-0; Sri Lanka bt Jordan 3-1.

Cadet boys: Quarterfinals: China — bye; Korea bt India 3-0 (Kim Min Hyeok bt Utkarsh Gupta 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10; Lim Jong Hong bt Abhishek Yadav 11-8, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7; Kim/ Lim bt Gupta/ Yadav 11-9, 11-9, 11-8); Chinese Taipei bt Singapore 3-2; Hong Kong — bye.

Cadet girls: China — bye; Chinese Taipei bt Singapore 3-0; Korea bt Japan 3-0; Hong Kong — bye.

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