Women paddlers get past Italy, men lose against same rivals

India’s women paddlers maintained their good form as they brushed aside the Italian challenge with a 3-1 victory while the men’s team lost 2-3 against same rivals in the Stage-I of the 2nd division group matches at the World Table Tennis Championships.

In the women’s tie, K Shamini laboured a lot before losing 4-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-9 and 9-11 to Chiara Colantoni in what should have been an easy battle for the Indian.

Shamini had everything going for her in the fifth game but a couple of crucial errors cost her dear.

Manika Batra then levelled proceedings, defeating Debora Vivarelli 11-8, 8-11, 11-9 and 14-12 to level the sore. Then Pooja Sahasrabudhe, who was playing her first match on Wednesday, accounted for Lisa Ridolfi 8-11, 11-3, 13-11 and 11-3 in what turned out to be a one-sided affair barring the first game. Manika then, won her reverse singles by beating Colantoni in straight games of 11-8, 11-6 and 11-5 to avenge for Shamini’s defeat.

They have one more match in Stage 1 against Bulgaria on Thursday evening and if they manage to win they would have set a record of sorts for winning five straight matches in a world event.

In the men’s event, Harmeet Desai lost his opening singles to Mihai Bobocica 10-12, 11-8, 7-11 and 9-11 but both Achanta Sharath Kamal and Soumyajit Ghosh won their singles to give India 2-1 lead.

Sharath beat Niagol Stoyanov 12-10, 12-10 and 11-3 and Ghosh downed Leanardo Mutti 6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11 and 11-9.

In his reverse singles, however, Sharath lost to Mihai 1-11, 7-11, 11-7, 12-10 and 9-11 putting the burden back on Desai, who failed to pass the test against Niagol as he lost 11-8, 7-11, 8-11 and 22-24.