Indian paddlers sail into third round of Worlds

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 29 (IANS) Indian men and women’s teams posted their second successive wins in the World Table Tennis Championships to enter the third round here on Monday.

After winning their first Second Division match against Vietnam on Sunday, India ran into Turkey this morning and it was a quiet affair in the second round.

Achanta Sharath Kamal was in his best form when he took on Ibrahim Gunduz, winning the opening rubber 11-5, 11-5, 11-7. Soumyajit Ghosh, who was playing his first match, then faced Gencay Menge in the second singles. Ghosh took very little time to settle down and beat his Turkish opponent 11-8, 11-6, 11-7.

Later, reigning national champion Anthony Amalraj, after losing the first game, brushed aside his rustiness and overcame Abdullah Yigenler 3-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7.

The Indian men’s squad will take on Nigeria on Tuesday in the third round.

As for the women’s team, except for Mouma Das, who went down in the first singles, both K. Shamini and Madhurika Patkar took control of the match to put India on road to recovery and emerge winners over Puerto Rico.

Mouma, surprisingly, disappointed when she opened it for India against Adriana Diaz. The top Puerto Rican, despite losing the first game, steadied herself before taking a firm grip over the diminutive Mouma. Adriana was not only deceptive but also very quick that she finished off the second game, allowing just two points to Mouma.

Mouma could not take any liberty against the Puerto Rican, who was severe with anything that came to her forehand. So much so she won 5-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-9 to put her team in the lead.

Shamini, playing her role to perfection, neutralised their rivals’ advantage to beat Melaine Dias 12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5 and Madhurika, playing her first match, easily downed Daniely Rios 11-4, 11-9, 11-7 to give India some life.

With Shamini slated to take on Adriana in reverse singles, it was always going to be dicey. But the Indian, hitting great form and tackling her opponent with guile, outwitted their No.1 player. Shamini won 11-7, 13-11, 8-11, 11-8 to see India through to the third round where they will clash with Portugal on Tuesday.

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