Table Tennis Championships: Indians march into semis

Cuttack: 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 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 bt Singapore 3-2; Nigeria bt Australia 3-1; England bt Australia 3-1; Singapore bt Nigeria 3-0

Group F: India bt Sri Lanka 3-0 (A Amalraj bt Krishan Wickramarathna 11-5 11-6 11-3, G Sathiyan bt Nirmala Jayasinghe 11-5 11-3 11-4, M Thakkar bt M Lakshitha 8-11 11-4 11-8 12-10 11-1); Malaysia bt Wales 3-0; India bt Malaysia 3-0 (A Amalraj bt Feng Chee Leong 7-11 12-10 11-7 11-8, A Sharath Kamal bt MAH Muhamad Rizal 11-9 11-8 11-6, Harmeet Desai bt Qi Shen Wong 11-2 11-4 11-4); Wales bt Sri Lanka 3-1.

Women: Group E: Singapore bt Sri Lanka 3-0; England bt Australia 3-1; England bt Singapore 3-1; Australia bt

Sri Lanka 3-0; England bt Sri Lanka 3-0.

Group F: India bt Wales 3-0 (Madhurika Patkar bt Charlotte Carey 5-11 11-8 11-5 11-8, Archana Kamath bt Beth Richards 11-8 11-6 11-7, Ayhika Mukherjee bt Lara Whitton 11-3 11-8 11-7); Nigeria bt Malaysia 3-1; India bt Malaysia 3-0 (Archana Kamath bt Tee Ai Xin 11-6 12-10 11-6, Manika Batra bt Ho Ying 13-11 8-11 7-11 12-10 11-9, Madhurika Patkar bt Chang Alice Li Sian 11-8 8-11 11-2 6-11 11-5); Nigeria bt Wales 3-2; India bt Nigeria 3-0 (Archana Kamath bt Offiong Edem 6-11 11-4 11-5 11-8, Manika Batra bt Ajoke N Ojomu 11-4 11-3 11-4, Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Cecilia Akan 11-4 11-8 11-8).

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