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Sharath lone Indian singles hope at worlds




New Delhi, May 15: On a difficult day for India at the World Championships in Paris, Achanta Sharath Kamal proved to be the lone flag-bearer of the country when he defeated Spaniard Carlos Machado in first round of the men’s singles late tonight.


Except for the top-ranked Indian at 69, all other paddlers made exit and it included Soumyajit Ghosh, Athony Amalraj and all three women players—Mouma Das, K. Shamini and Madhurika Patkar.


Sharath defeated world No. 106 Spaniar 4-2 (11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9) to advance to the second round while Amalraj lost to a higher-ranked (22) Koki Niwa in straight sets of 5-11, 4-11, 8-11, 7-11. Ghosh too lost his first round battle against world No. 2 Ma Long as the Chinese proved too hot for the Indian. The Chinese won 11-8, 11-4, 11-3, 11-9.


The Indian challenge in the women’s singles came to an end as Shamini was outclassed by Italian Nikoleta Stefanova 4-11, 5-11, 7-11, 9-11 and before that Madhurika, though managed to take game off her opponent Wing Nam NG, the Hong Kong paddlers was too good on the day with 8-11, 4-11, 8-11, 12-10, 3-11 triumph. Mouma Das, who began promisingly, went down to another Hong Kong girl, Ho Ching Lee. The world No. 37 paddler outlasted her Indian rival with a 7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5 victory.


There was some hope in the mixed doubles as the Soumyajit Ghosh- Mouma Das pair secured a spot in the round of 32 with a win over Russian duo of Alexander Shibaev and Elana Troshneva 16-14, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8. But in the next round they will be running into Peng Tang and Wing Nam NG, a strong pair from Hong Kong.


But life was not easy for the other pairs—Sharath and Shamini and Amalraj and Madhurika. Sharath and Shamini were defeated by Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Slja 4-0 and the Japanese duo of Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa accounted for Amalraj and Madhurika 4-2.