The Indian men’s team blanked Uzbekistan 3-0 in its opening match of the World team table tennis championships here on Saturday.
Harmeet Desai, G. Sathiyan and Manav Thakkar scored comfortable victories. Later in the day, the Indian women’s team will take on Germany, seeded fifth.
Indian men will next face second seeded Germany on Sunday at around 11.30 a.m.
India’s top paddler Manika Batra lost both her matches as the Indian women’s team went down fighting to Germany, seeded fifth, 2-3 in its opening Group match of the World team table tennis championships.
After Manika lost her opening rubber to World No.8 Ying Han, two young paddlers, Sreeja Akula and Diya Chitale punched above their weight to script wins over much higher ranked opponents in the next two ties to give a huge boost to the Indian team’s chances.
Sreeja pulled off her biggest victory yet of her nascent career, when she defeated World No.14 Nina Mittelham 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 in the second tie before Diya attacked relentlessly to script a 11-9, 11-8, 6-11, 13-11 win over Sabine Winter, World No.46. However, in the fourth rubber, Manika lost to Nina 11-7, 6-11, 7-11, 8-11. In the fifth tie and decider, Ying, one of the last surviving defenders in the professional circuit, put it across Sreeja in three straight games.
The knockout begins on October 5. Defending champion China is seeded first in both the men’s and women’s team events.
The Indian men’s team will be hoping to make it to the knockout stage. But it will not be easy with second seeded Germany, France and Uzbekistan.