The Indian women’s and men’s table tennis teams came up with comprehensive wins on Saturday to secure their spot in the knockout stage of the table tennis team events at the Asian Games 2022 in Hangzhou.
Both Indian teams rested their main players as the women beat Nepal 3-0 while the men got the better of Tajikistan by the same scoreline in their respective final group stage matches.
With the wins, both teams finish top of their respective Groups.
The Indian women, led by Manika Batra, on Friday, beat Singapore 3-2 in a tightly contested tie. On Saturday though, Batra, world No 36, was rested.
Diya Chitale opened proceedings and took just 15 minutes to register a 11-1, 11-6, 11-8 win over Sikka Suwal Shrestha, before Ayhika Mukherjee beat Nabita Shrestha 11-3, 11-7, 11-2 in a match that lasted 16 minutes.
In the third match, Sutirtha Mukherjee secured the tie with a 11-1, 11-5, 11-2 win over Evana Magar Thapa in 14 minutes to give India a 3-0 win.
For the men’s team match against Tajikistan, Achanta Sharath Kamal and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran were rested. They were replaced by 23-year-old Manav Thakkar and Asian Games debutant Manush Shah.
Thakkar started the tie with a 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 win over Afzalkhon Mahmudov.
Shah was at the table next but was made to work hard in the opening game by Ubaydullo Sultonov. Eventually the Indian prevailed, winning the match 13-11, 11-7, 11-5.
In the third match, the in-form Harmeet Desai, currently the highest ranked Indian men’s singles player at No 69, came up with a comfortable 11-1, 11-3, 11-5 win over Ibrokhim Ismoilzoda to secure the tie for India.
The men’s team top Group F after a 3-0 and 3-1 win over Yemen and Singapore respectively on Friday, followed by the strong performance against Tajikistan.
Indian sailors will also be in action across events through the day today, followed by the Asian Games Opening Ceremony at 5.30 pm onwards.
The Asian Games will be broadcast live on Sony Sports Network and streamed on Sony Liv.
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