India's Sharath Kamal made it to his first ITTF event final since 2010 on Sunday, defeating Russia's Kirill Skachkov in seven games at the Oman Open in Muscat.
It was a see-saw battle decided only in the seventh game. Sharath, the fourth seed, was down 2-0 before making his comeback; he went on to win all the rest of the games except the sixth to pocket the contest in an hour and eight minutes. The scoreline: 11-13, 11-13, 13-11, 11-9, 13-11, 8-11, 11-7.
“Playing well here will help in getting better rankings and seedings, especially keeping the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in mind,” Sharath said after his win.
“This time we had a lot of Indians participating here as all of us are looking for berth in Tokyo. My performance here will be significant for me personally as well as I am bracing up for the Olympics and hope I can make it count,” he added.
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This was Sharath's best performance since the Egypt Open in 2010, when he won the title, and his first-ever Challenger final. He will now take on top-seeded Marcos Freitas of Portugal in the summit clash.
Freitas entered final with a 5-11, 11-9, 6-11, 6-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-3 win over India's Harmeet Desai. With a good performance here, Desai, the World No. 87, is expected to make notable progress in the upcoming world rankings.