The experienced Achanta Sharath Kamal once again proved why he is considered the best Indian paddler on the international circuit when he registered two important victories to help the team defeat Romania 3-1 in the 13-16 classification match of the ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championship in Halmstad, Sweden, on Saturday.
In confidence of the Indian team was clearly on a high after beating world number five France in the earlier round and Sharath Kamal and company build on that performance with a clinical win over Romania. They will now face Czech Republic in the play-off for the 13-14th position.
However, the team did not have a start they desired in their match against Romania as the hero of the earlier round victory, G Sathiyan, suffered a straight sets loss against Ovidiu Ionescu. The top-ranked Indian never got into his stride and lost 11-6, 11-4, 11-8.
But the reversal did not affect Sharath Kamal’s game plan as he sailed through to a 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 win over Hunor Szocs to level the scores at 1-1.
Harmeet Desai then set things up beautifully for Sharat Kamal when he got the better of Cristian Pletea 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 to put India 2-1 ahead.
Ionescu wasn’t willing to give up easily and fought back to clinch the opening game. However, Sharath Kamal used his experience to then dominate his opponent and win the match 11-13, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6.