March 5: It was a memorable day for the Indian paddlers as they entered the finals of the second division of the 2016 World Championships in both men’s and women’s sections here on Friday.
After defeating Nigeria 3-2 to in the quarterfinals earlier in the day, Indian men defeated Egypt 3-1 in the semifinals to achieve the rare feat of making it to the final. It also sealed India’s entry in the Champions Division.
The Indian men will take on Brazil, who downed Serbia 3-1 in the other semifinal, in the final tomorrow that will decide the position they achieve in this championships.
In the women’s section, India beat Serbia 3-2 to enter the final. They will meet Luxemburg in tomorrow’s Second Division final. Luxemburg beat Croatia 3-2 in the other semifinal today.
It was Achanta Sharath Kamal once again, who led from the front for the second time today, helping the Indian men reach the final.
After Soumyajit Ghosh failing again in the opening rubber against Omar Assar, it was left to Sharath to pull the rug from under the feel of Egypt.
The ace Indian beat Mohammed El-Beiali 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 to level the score and in a very tricky third rubber, Harmeet Desai accounted for El-Sayed Lashin 3-2 to leave matters in the hand of Sharath who was to play his reverse singles next against Omar Assar.
And the top-ranked Indian did not disappoint as he simply disposed of Assar in straight games to seal India’s entry in the Champions Division and also in the final of the Second Division.
Unlike the men’s semifinal, the women’s match against Serbia was a more complicated one. Mouma Das, playing the first match against Anamaria Erdelji, was caught on the wrong foot once again. The Serbian was too good on the day and beat her Indian rival 3-1.
There was no respite to the Indians as national champion Manika Batra lost her match to Gabriela Feher rather quickly and in straight games.
Down and out completely, K Shamini provided the spark with a 3-1 win over Andrea Todorovic to pull back the Indians on track. Both Manika Batra and Mouma Das, determined as they were, took the cue and beat both Anamaria and Gabriela, 3-1 and 3-0 respectively.
Men: India bt Egypt 3-1 (Soumyajit Ghosh lost to Omar Assar 5-11, 7-11, 4-11, A. Sharath Kamal bt Mohammed El-Beiali 11-7, 11-5, 11-9, Harmeet Desai bt El-Sayed Lashin 12-14, 11- 6, 14-12, 11-5, A. Sharath Kamal bt Omar Assar 11-3, 12-10, 11-5).
Women: India bt Serbia 3-2 (Mouma Das lost to Anamaria Erdelji 11-3, 4-11, 2-11, 1-11, Manika Batra lost to Gabriela Feher 5-11, 10-12, 9-11, K. Shamini bt Andrea Todorovic 11-6, 5-11, 11-5, 11-5, Manika Batra bt Anamaria Erdelji 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, Mouma Das bt Gabriela Feher 12-10, 11-8, 11-7).