The India men's and women's teams won their respective ties with Egypt and Kazakhstan, with the women making it to the knock-outs stage of the ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championship here on Monday.
Despite starting their campaign with a defeat, the Indian women's team came back strongly to advance to the round of 16 after beating Egypt 3-1. The men's team had to fight hard before overcoming Kazakhstan 3-2 and on the verge of qualifying for the knockout stage as they top their preliminary Group.
The India women's team needed to win its tie against Egypt to qualify for the knock-out round. And they started on a good note.
Commonwealth Games mixed doubles gold medallist and National Champion Sreeja Akula gave India the perfect start with a 3-0 (11-6, 11-4, 11-1) win over Hana Goda.
India No.1, Manika Batra overcame a tough challenge from Dina Meshref for a hard-fought 3-2 (8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 2-11, 11-8) victory that gave India the 2-0 lead.
Divya Chitale lost to Yousra Helmy 3-2 (11-5, 10-12, 11-9, 9-11, 4-11) as Egypt pulled one back. But Sreeja wrapped up the victory for India and with that a place in the next round with a 3-1 (11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6) victory against Dina Meshref.
The result means that the Indian women's team finished second in Group 5 with five points, behind Germany with six, and ensured passage through to the round of 16.
In the men's section, the Indian team virtually assured itself a place in the next round with a 3-2 win against Kazakhstan in their third Group 2 tie.
CWG men's singles bronze-medallist Sathiyan Gnanasekaran beat Denis Zholudev 3-0 (11-1, 11-9, 11-5) to give India a good start.
However, Harmeet Desai lost 3-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-9) to World No.28 Kirill Gerassimenko as Kazakhstan levelled the score 1-1.
Manav Thakkar put the team back ahead with a 3-0 (12-10, 11-1, 11-8) victory over Alan Kurmangaliyev but Kirill Gerassimenko forced a decider after overcoming G Sathiyan 3-2 (6-11, 11-5, 12-14, 11-9, 11-6).
Harmeet Desai, who won the singles gold in the National Games, sealed the tie in India's favour with a comfortable 3-0 (12-10, 11-9, 11-6) win over Denis Zholudev.
The win ensured that the Indian team remained unbeaten in the preliminary group and topped their group with six points from three matches. France and Germany are with five points each and Tuesday's encounters between India and France and Germany and Uzbekistan will decide which two teams go through to the next stage.
( 437 Words)