India loses to Japan in quarterfinal, beats DPR Korea for First Division title

After Soumyajit Ghosh put India ahead with a hard-fought 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6 victory over Yuya Oshima, spearhead A. Sharath Kamal blew away three match-points in the fourth game against favourite Koki Niwa.

Sharath Kamal beat Yuya Oshima 11-8, 11-13, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6 to set up an intriguing decider between Ghosh and Koki Niwa.   -  PTI

From the threshold of making history, India slipped to a heart-breaking 2-3 defeat to Japan in the men’s team championship quarterfinal of the Asian table tennis championship at Wuxi, China, on Tuesday.
 

After Soumyajit Ghosh put India ahead with a hard-fought 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6 victory over Yuya Oshima, spearhead A. Sharath Kamal blew away three match-points in the fourth game against favourite Koki Niwa, who prevailed 11-1, 6-11, 8-11, 14-12, 12-10.
 

In the next match, it was the turn of Harmeet Desai to slip when in sight of victory. Leading 2-1 and 10-all in the fourth game, Desai could not nail Kenta Matsudaira who pulled off a 5-11, 8-11, 11-2, 14-12, 11-6 escape.
 

Sharath returned to the arena and made it 2-2 by scoring over Yuya Oshima 11-8, 11-13, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6. In the deciding rubber, Ghosh failed to build on the cushion of winning the opening game and Koki Niwa rallied to win 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4.
 

As it turned out, India went on to lose 0-3 to Hong Kong in the match to decide the fifth place. On Wednesday, India will figure in the match for the seventh spot.
 

Later, India had the consolation of winning the First Division title by beating Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 3-2 in the final that featured the two qualifiers to the Championship Division.
 

The result also helped India avenge the 3-1 defeat suffered at the same stage of the 2009 edition in Lucknow where it last qualified for the main draw. With Sharath being rested, the young Indian trio of Ghosh, Desai and G. Sathiyan presented India’s challenge.
 

Ghosh beat Choe Il 11-6, 11-9, 12-10 and Desai doubled India’s lead by posting a 11-5, 11-13, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5 victory over Pak Sin Hyok. In the third singles, Sathiyan could not stop Kang Wi Hun from pulling off a 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 triumph.

Surprisingly, Ghosh blew away to 2-1 lead and Pak Sin Hyok seized the opportunity to win 10-12, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8. In the deciding match, Desai came good when it mattered and scored a tie-clinching 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 victory over Choe Il.
 

In the ladies section, Chinese Taipei ended India’s campaign following a 3-1 verdict on way to the main draw. Mouma Das fought brilliantly before Cheng I-Ching proved stronger at 11-6, 9-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6.

Manika Batra, too, battled all the way, against Chen Szu-Yu who put Chinese Taipei 2-0 ahead by winning 3-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-6. National champion Madhurika Patkar extended the contest by claiming the third singles at the expense of Cheng Hsien-Tu 11-7, 8-11, 11-4, 14-12 before Cheng I-Cheng returned to outlast Manika 11-8, 12-14, 11-3, 11-9.