The Indian men’s team, led by seasoned campaigner G Sathiyan, kept its hopes alive for a knock-out stage berth, beating Kazakhstan 3-2 in a closely fought group league tie of the World Table Tennis Championship here on Monday.
For the women’s team, after a heartbreaking close defeat against Germany, Sreeja Akula and company 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 Indian team loses to France and Germany happens to 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, making short work of Denis Zholudev in straight games. Sathiyan won 11-1, 11-9, 11-5.
However, Harmeet Desai had a poor outing against Kirill Gerassimenko to lose 6-11 8-11 9-11 in quick time.
But, young 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 pipped the Indian ace 6-11, 11-5, 12-14, 11-9, 11-6 to restore parity.
However, Harmeet was in his element against Kazakhstan’s weakest link Jholudev whom he beat 12-10, 11-9, 11-6.
In the women’s event, the Commonwealth Games mixed doubles gold medallist Sreeja Akula won the first and fourth rubbers to clinch a place for India in the knock-out stages.
After a poor outing against Germany, Manika Batra won the second rubber while Diya Chitale ended second best against her opponent.
Sreeja beat Goda Han 11-6-11-4, 11-1 and Dina Mishref 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 while Manika struggled past Dina 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 2-11, 11-8 in five games to help India win the match.
Men: Group 2: India bt Kazakhstan 3-2 (G. Sathiyan bt Denis Zholudev 11-1, 11-9, 11-5; Harmeet Desai lost to Kirill Gerassimenko 6-11, 8-11, 9-11; Manav Thakkar bt Alan Kurmangaliyev 12-10, 11-1, 11-8; Sathiyan lost to Kirill 11-6, 5-11, 14-12, 9-11, 6-11; Harmeet bt Denis 12-10, 11-9, 11-6).
Women: Group 5: India bt Egypt 3-1 (Sreeja Akula bt Hana Goda 11-6, 11-4, 11-1; Manika Batra bt Dina Meshref 8-11, 11-6, 11–7, 2-11, 11-8; Diya Chitale lost to Yousra Helmy 11-5, 10-12, 11-9, 9-11, 4-11; Sreeja bt Dina 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6).