Singapore Smash 2024: Sharath Kamal loses to Felix Lebrun in quarterfinals

Singapore Smash: The 41-year-old Sharath began his campaign from the qualifying round and made it to the quarterfinals in men’s singles.

Published : Mar 15, 2024 14:16 IST , SINGAPORE - 2 MINS READ

FILE PHOTO: India’s Sharath Kamal.
FILE PHOTO: India’s Sharath Kamal. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

FILE PHOTO: India’s Sharath Kamal. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

India’s Sharath Kamal’s dream run at the Singapore Smash table tennis tournament ended with a 1-4 (9-11, 2-11, 7-11, 11-9, 8-11) loss to World No. 6 Felix Lebrun in the men’s singles quarterfinals on Friday.

Outplayed and down by three games, 41-year-old Sharath, a qualifier and ranked 88th in the world, pulled off his A game in the fourth. This phase was the Sharath one witnessed in the whole tournament. 

Using his powerful forehand top spin and backhand drive from the back of the table, the 10-time Indian National champion dismantled the 17-year-old French prodigy. However, in the fourth game, Felix raced to a 10-6 lead and finished the match in 31 minutes. 

Sharath had earlier defeated World No. 22 Omar Assar of Egypt, World No. 13 Darko Jorgic of Slovenia and World No. 51 Nicolas Burgos of Chile in the first three rounds of the main draw.

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This has been the best WTT tournament for Sharath in recent times. He is expected to enter the top 40 in the world rankings and he will be India No. 1 next week. In the run-up to the Paris Olympics, Sharath couldn’t have asked for more.

“This is the best I’ve played since the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Even though I was not at my best in the recent World team championships in Busan, I knew my preparations will help me play well in the Singapore Smash tournament. The best part is that I was timing the ball and moving really well. With 400 points in my kitty in the Singapore Smash, my rankings will go up and should be in 32 in world rankings,” Sharath said.

The 41-year-old 10-time National champion made it clear that his aim is to compete in the team event in Paris. “My priority is still the team event in the Paris Olympics. I hope and want G. Sathiyan, Manav Thakkar and Harmeet Desai to raise their performances in the coming tournaments. The Indian team for Olympics will be decided in May and we are planning to have camps in Asia and Europe,” added Sharath.

Explaining why he chose Anders Lind of Denmark, world ranked 30, as a coach in Singapore, Sharath said Lind just returned a favour. “At the World championships in Durban last year, I sat in the coaching bench for him. He returned the favour,” he said.

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