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Sharath in R 32, Manika-Mouma in quarters




New Delhi, June 1: Even as A. Sharath Kamal stormed into the round of 32, beating Ukraine’s Kou Lei in straight games of 11-3, 11-9, 14-12, 11-3, the success story of Manika Batra and Mouma Das continued as the Indian women pair entered the quarterfinals of the 2017 World Table Tennis Championships today. The Indians got a walkover from the Netherlands and Polish combination of Li Jie and Li Quian, the latter reportedly was hopsitalised last night after falling sick.


Sharath, ranked 43 in the world, defeated the Ukrainian, ranked 24, rather easily without wasting much time. The 20th seeded player, however, put in his best efforts in the third game when he managed to stretch the Indian. But that was all he could do as Sharath, running into a nice rhythm, simply ran past his rival in quick time to advance. In his next round, the top-ranked Indian will meet either Austrian Habesohin or Chinese Lin Gaoyuan tomorrow.


“I got into a groove very early and my backhand coming off nicely. I am taking one match at a time and I am not worried about my next round opponent, said Sharath.


Earlier, after beating the Russian pair the Indian women pair of Manika Batra and Mouma were ready for their Polish-Dutch combine. But Manika and Mouma could not believe their luck when their opponents did not turn up for their pre-quarterfinal match and the Indians were declared 4-0 winners. They would now take on the No. 1 and 2 Chinese players, Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen tomorrow in the quarterfinals, a lethal left and right combination.


“We are happy to have reached the quarters in the world championships. We knew it would be difficult to beat the Chinese opponents, but we are ready for the match,” said Manika, who earlier exited in the round of 64 in women singles.


Manika had a tough match against Korean Kim Kyungah, seeded 27 and ranked 46 in the world, in the round of 64. The former national champion just about managed to win the first game but could not do much against the rampaging Korean who was strong on her forehand. The Korean won 3-11- 11-5, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 for a next round showdown with Chinese Zhu Yuling.