Sharath off to a optimistic begin in Doha; Sathiyan bows out

Doha, March 3

Ace Indian paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal advanced to the second round of the World Table Tennis Contender series with a hard fought 3-2 win over Czech Republic’s Pavel Sirucek here on Wednesday.

Sharath toiled hard before defeating Sirucek 17-15 9-11 11-6 8-11 11-9 in the first round.

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, who alongside Sharath secured a direct entry into the main draw, however, made a first round exit after going down to world No. 20 Aruna Quadri 7-11 4-11 8-11.

World No. 32 Sharath, who was up against an international opponent for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic break, struggled initially when he was seen trailing by five points in the first game before recovering well with a strong counter attacking display to take an early 1-0 lead in the match.

Despite losing the next game, the nine-time national champion kept firing attacking shots to bag the third game comfortably.

Sirucek, who was the chief architect during India’s loss at the team Olympic Qualifier last year, managed to come back in the fourth game and kept his challenge alive. However, Sharath, a seasoned campaigner, held his nerves in the deciding game and completed a remarkable 3-2 win.

Sharath will now face a strong challenge from world No. 7 Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei in the pre-quarters on Thursday. PTI

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