The Indian men’s and women’s teams sailed into the semifinals of the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships after convincing victories over their respective opponents, here Thursday. The Indian women’s team defeated Wales, Malaysia and Nigeria by an identical 3-0 margin to enter the last-four from Group F of the Super Eight round.
The Indian men too have entered the semifinals after defeating Sri Lanka and Malaysia by 3-0 margin. The Indian male paddlers, however, have a formality to complete as they play their last Group F match against Wales.
Anthony Amalraj had an easy outing against Sri Lankan Krishan Wickramaratha, cleaning him up with a 3-0 verdict in the opener. He struggled a bit against Malaysian Feng Chee Leong but the Indian overcame the initial hiccups to beat him 3-1. G Sathiyan and Manav Thakkar competed against Sri Lanka while Achanta Sharath Kamal and Harmeet Desai were pitted against Malaysia.
India’s coaches Australian Brett Clarke and Soumyadeep Roy gave ample opportunities to all the players before Friday’s semifinal and finals. In the women’s team, Archana was the common factor in all the three matches while the two coaches rotated other players, including Manika Batra, Madhurika Patkar, Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ayhika Mukherjee.
Besides India, England men and women, too, made it to the semifinals by notching up two wins each. England men beat Singapore 3-2 and Australia 3-1. The women, on the other hand, beat Australia 3-1 and then trounced Sri Lanka 3-0.
Meanwhile, Sathiyan, Manika are rated as top seeds in the individual events. But only one of the two Indians in men’s singles fray, Sathiyan and Manav Thakkar, would progress to the medal round as they were drawn in the same quarter. The other three Indians were lucky to find themselves evenly distributed into the other quarters.
All the Indian male players were among the top eight seeds (based on their ITTF July ranking), while only three women — Manika, Archana and Patkar — were seeded and got first-round byes in the main draw. The remaining two — Sutirtha and Ayhika — will have to make it to the main draw through qualifiers.
Results (Super Eights):
Men: Group E: England beat Singapore 3-2; Nigeria beat Australia 3-1; England beat Australia 3-1; Singapore beat Nigeria 3-0;
Women: Group E: Singapore beat Sri Lanka 3-0; England beat Australia 3-1; England beat Singapore 3-1; Australia beat Sri Lanka 3-0; England beat Sri Lanka 3-0.
Group F: India beat Wales 3-0 (Madhurika Patkar beat Charlotte Carey 5-11 11-8 11-5 11-8, Archana Kamath beat Beth Richards 11-8 11-6 11-7, Ayhika Mukherjee beat Lara Whitton 11-3 11-8 11-7); Nigeria beat Malaysia 3-1; India beat Malaysia 3-0 (Archana Kamath beat Tee Ai Xin 11-6 12-10 11-6, Manika Batra beat Ho Ying 13-11 8-11 7-11 12-10 11-9, Madhurika Patkar beat Chang Alice Li Sian 11-8 8-11 11-2 6-11 11-5); Nigeria beat Wales 3-2; India beat Nigeria 3-0 (Archana Kamath beat Offiong Edem 6-11 11-4 11-5 11-8, Manika Batra beat Ajoke N Ojomu 11-4 11-3 11-4, Sutirtha Mukherjee beat Cecilia Akan 11-4 11-8 11-8).