Asian championship: Sharath loses; Hirano in final

Sharath Kamal lost the pre-quarterfinal game against Lam Siu Hang after a spirited fight. Miu Hirano registered a superb 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 victory over world No. 2 Zhu Yuling.

Japanese teenager Miu Hirano extended her winning streak at the Asian table tennis championships.   -  AFP

India’s campaign ended at the Asian Table Tennis championship as A. Sharath Kamal bowed out in the pre-quarterfinals, losing to Lam Siu Hang of Hong Kong at Wuxi on Saturday.

Kamal went down 2-3 (6-11, 11-9, 9-11, 14-12, 10-12) after waging a spirited fight.

Despite losing the first game quickly, Kamal came back strongly in the second game against the Hong Kong paddler. The latter won the third to go 2-1 up.

Then, Sharath, more determined, started attacking well and almost cornered his opponent by saving two match matches to level the scores 2-2.

However, the Hong Kong paddler kept a slender lead in the decider and in spite of Sharath managing to level at 10-10, Lam won the next two crucial points, one on his own serve and once breaking Kamal’s, to enter the quarterfinals.

HIRANO STUNS WORLD NO. 2 YULING

Meanwhile, Japanese teenager Miu Hirano continued her giant-killing spree at the Asian table tennis championships, stunning world No. 2 Zhu Yuling 3-0 to reach the women’s singles final.

Hirano registered a superb 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 victory over Zhu, reported Xinhua news agency.

“We do need to take a thorough study on her serve,” commented Zhu after losing the semis. “I lost at least six points on it.”

Zhu’s coach Li Sun, who had guided Wang Nan, Zhang Yining and Li Xiaoxia to win the Grand Slam — Olympic Games, world championships and the World Cup — thought the main problem was Zhu herself.

“She didn’t play her best table tennis, for sure,” said Li. “But I think Zhu lost because she’s too eager to win. In that case, Hirano was the better player today on court.”

“We have to admit that the Japanese women paddlers made rapid progress recently and they do know the right tactics and can successfully carry those out,” he added.

World No. 11 Hirano, who turned 17 on Thursday, had produced arguably the biggest upset in the quarterfinals, beating Olympic and world champion Ding Ning 3-2.

Compared to her Chinese opponents, whom she defeated for the first time, Hirano was determined and fearless.