World Team Table Tennis Championships: India women reach last 16, men beat Kazakhstan

World Team Table Tennis Championships: India women reach last 16, men beat Kazakhstan

The Indian men's team, led by G Sathiyan, kept its hopes alive for qualifying for the knockout stage, beating Kazakhstan 3-2 in a closely fought group league tie of the World Table Tennis Championship in Chengdu, China on Monday.

For the women's team, after a heartbreaking close defeat against Germany, Sreeja Akula and Co. prevailed over Egypt 3-1 to qualify for the pre-quarterfinals. The men's team now needs to beat France in the final group league match to finish on top of group 2 table.

In case the India lose to France and Germany beat Kazakhstan, then there will be a three-way tie between India, Germany and France.

After the high of beating Germany, Sathiyan started the new tie in earnest, beating Denis Zholudev in straight games 11-1, 11-9, 11-5.

However, Harmeet Desai had a poor outing against Kirill Gerassimenko as he lost the match 6-11, 8-11, 9-11. In the other singles match, Manav Thakkar beat Alan Kurmangaliyev 12-10, 11-1, 11-8.

With 2-1 lead, Sathiyan was expected to close the tie in the fourth rubber but Kirill won the match 6-11, 11-5, 12-14, 11-9, 11-6 to restore parity.

In the final match of the tie, Harmeet was in his element against Jholudev, beating him 12-10, 11-9, 11-6 to complete India's victory.

In the women's event, the Commonwealth Games mixed doubles gold medallist Sreeja Akula won the first and fourth matches to clinch a place for India in the knockout stage. After a poor outing against Germany, Manika Batra won the second match while Diya Chitale lost hers.

Sreeja then beat Goda Han 11-6-11-4, 11-1 and Dina Mishref 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 while Manika overcame the challenge from Dina 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 2-11, 11-8 in five games to help India win the match.