Qatar Open: Sharath Kamal defeats World No. 7

The Indian defeated Japan’s Koki Niwa 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 14-12, 11-9 in the men's singles first round of the Qatar Open on Thursday.

India’s Sharath Kamal defeated Japan’s Koki Niwa 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 14-12, 11-9 in the men's singles first round of the Qatar Open table tennis championship here on Thursday.   -  G. RAMAKRISHNA

India’s Sharath Kamal defeated Japan’s Koki Niwa 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 14-12, 11-9 in the men's singles first round of the Qatar Open table tennis championship here on Thursday.

Niwa, World No.7 and seeded five here, was overpowered by the former Commonwealth Games champion.

Earlier, the unseeded Indian duo of Sharath Kamal and G. Sathiyan upset the Swedish pair of Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson, seeded five, 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 8-11, 11-4 in the men's doubles pre-quarterfinals.

This is the third time Sharath defeated a paddler ranked inside the top 10. In fact, he defeated Chuang Chih-Yuan of Taiwan (ranked in top 10) twice in the Asia Cup in Wuhan (China) in 2014 and in Jaipur (2015).

Speaking to Sportstar, Sharath said: "It was a fantastic win. Twice I have lost to him (Niwa) in 2016 (Swedish Open) and last year (Asian championship team event). This time, my main strategy was to use my power to subdue him. I am extremely happy with the win as it comes at the time when the Commonwealth Games is approaching. I hope to maintain the momentum."