Olympian Achanta Sharath Kamal suffered a shock defeat against lower-ranked Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An in the first round to bow out of the World Table Tennis Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
World number 54 Sharath, the country’s best bet in the prestigious event, struggled throughout his first round match against the world number 106 to go down 1-4 in the men’s singles main draw.
Sharath, after winning the opening game, lost 11-8 9-11 8-11 7-11 9-11 to Chen in a hard-fought contest.
Sharath had got a direct entry into the men’s singles event of the championship. Other Indians Soumyadeep Roy, Abishek Ravichandran, Anthony Amalraj and Subhajit Saha had lost in the qualifiers yesterday at different stages.
In the men’s doubles category, the Commonwealth Games doubles gold medallists duo of Sharath and Subhajit Saha also failed to live up to their reputation and were defeated by the North Korean pair of Kim Nam Chol and Ri Chol Guk 4-11 12-10 13-15 7-11 7-11 in the first round.
The other Indian pair, Amalraj Anthony and Soumyadeep Roy lost 11-7 5-11 8-11 5-11 5-11 to second seeded Chinese pair of Wang Hao and Zhang Jike.
In the women’s singles event, Madhurika Patkar, Mouma Das and Poulomi Ghatak failed to get past the first hurdle and lost to higher-seeded opponents.
All three made it to the main draw after winning their respective qualifiers yesterday.
However, the Indian challenge is not yet over in the week-long championship.
Amalraj Anthony and Soumyadeep Roy will play in their singles consolation matches while Shamini Kumaresan and Mamata Prabhu will feature in the women’s singles consolation matches tomorrow.
The consolation match is played amongst the players who lose in the qualifiers.