Sharath Kamal moves into Oman Open final with come-from-behind win

Sharath defeats Russia's Kirill Skachkov in a seven games; Harmeet Desai bows out in semis.

Sharath Kamal in action at Oman Open. - ITTFWORLD/FLICKR

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.

'Significant'

“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.

The results

1. Achanta Sharath Kamal bt Kirill Skachkov (Russia) 11-13, 11-13, 13-11, 11-9, 13-11, 8-11, 11-7.

2. Harmeet Desai lost to Marcos Freitas (Portugal) 5-11, 11-9, 6-11, 6-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-3.