Sharath Kamal made history on Thursday when he became the first Indian to breach the top-50 of the world ranking by jumping 31 places in the past month to be placed 45th.

Winner of the US Open and the Egypt Open in successive weeks last month, Sharath was understandably happy with the achievement but was quick to add, “Honestly I was expecting to be around 39 or even in the early 40s,” said Sharath when informed about his latest world ranking after the announcement was made on Thursday.

“I would have been sad if my ranking was in the late 40s but I am happy now,” stated the 27-year-old soon after helping Petroleum reach the men’s team final in the ongoing inter-institutional championship here.

Sharath’s previous best ranking was 55, achieved in March this year. But some poor results that followed pushed down Sharath’s ranking to 91 in June. He climbed to 76 in July before three good showings gave him his career-high ranking.

“My semifinal performance in the Indian Open (in June) really boosted my confidence. I was really in the ‘zone’ during the US Open and the Egypt Open. I hope to carry this confidence to the China Open (18-22) where almost all the top players of the world will be in action.

“The top-32 players in the field enjoy direct entry into the main draw. I will have to play the qualifiers for a place in the draw of 64. I am really keen to do well in China,” said an excited Sharath.

While the Indian contingent will stay back in China till September 12, Sharath will hop across to Germany play in the Bundesliga for the first time. He will turn out for his new club TVS Grafelfing Munich on August 29. He prefers to get some training in Germany before joining the Indian team in New Delhi for three weeks leading to the Commonwealth Games, scheduled to begin on October 3.

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