New Delhi: India's men paddlers defeated Thailand 3-0 to enter the team event quarterfinals of the 24th ITTF Asian Table Tennis Championships at Indonesia's Yogyakarta on Monday.
After blanking Kuwait and Sri Lanka with identical 3-0 wins in the group stages on Sunday, India entered the knockout stage of the 1st Division and beat both Saudi Arabia (3-1) in the morning and followed it up with a 3-0 triumph over Thailand in the afternoon to enter the final (1st Division) and earn a meeting with North Korea.
In the main draw, where eight teams compete against each other, only the finalists of the 1st Division qualify for the Champions Division with top six teams drawn from the last championships held at Wuxi in 2017, directly making the grade.
In their match against Thailand, A. Sharath Kamal defeated Padasak Tanviriyavechakul 8-11, 11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 11-2 to put India up. But it was quite a struggle for the world No. 41 as he, after going 2-1 up, made some crucial errors which helped the Thai claw his way back. But the experienced Indian didn't yield any ground after that and shut him out with an explosive game.
In the second tie, G. Sathiyan consolidated India's position further beating Supanut Wisutmaythangkoon 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-1. This was despite dropping his opening game.
With a 2-0 cushion, it should have been easy for Harmeet Desai, but the Surat lad struggled before overcoming Yanapong Panagitgun 11-3, 9-11, 5-11, 13-11, 13-11 to put India in the final. But, most importantly, it earned India a quarterfinal berth in the Champions Division where they will face Japan.
The Indian women, who did well to enter the 1st Division after winning their group stage matches yesterday against Lebanon and Jordan with 3-0 verdicts. But they managed to register a 3-0 win against Uzbekistan before losing to Thailand 0-3. Now they will play Malaysia with the winner finishing at Position 9.