The Indians’ dream of qualifying for the final of the Asian TT Championships at the Lusail Sports Arena in Doha, Qatar remained wishful thinking on Monday as they lost both men’s doubles semi-finals in contrasting styles .
Earlier on Sunday evening, Indian TT flag-bearer A Sharath Kamal, who became the first Indian to advance to the men’s singles quarter-finals, struggled to beat world number 22 Sansu Lee of Korea from South. It was the story of misfires and attempts again for the Indian world No.33 who fought valiantly for 25 minutes before losing 11-8, 11-8, 11-9.
In the men’s doubles semi-finals, Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar missed a historic place in the final by just three points in the deciding match after stretching world number 26 Woojin Jang and Jonghoon Lim of South Korea. The Indians were in two sets and caught the next two and were as close as 6-8 in the last set before the seeds ended the game in their favor 4-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11 -9, 8-11 in 45 minutes.
In contrast, the world No. 33 pair of G Sathiyan and Sharath lost to world No. 14 Yukiya Uda and Japan’s Shunsuke Togami in straight sets 5-11, 9-11, 11-13 in 33 minutes.
In the doubles events, the semi-finalists are guaranteed at least the bronze medal.
The Indian men’s team consisting of Sharat, Sathiyan, Harmeet, Manav and Sanil Shetty reached the semi-finals to win the first medal on Friday.
The Indian women’s team, minus their top player Manila Batra, ended their commitments on Sunday with all singles players back in the locker room after two rounds and the doubles team of Sutirtha and Ayhika Mukherjee reaching the quarter-finals.
Defending champions China and North Korea have jumped due to issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Indian men’s team has advanced directly to the quarter-finals due to their sixth place finish in the 2019 edition in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The Indians beat Iran in the quarter-finals, but the Koreans blocked them in the semi-finals despite a fierce struggle.
The young Indian women’s team were forced into qualifying rounds and then reached the quarter-finals and placed fifth.
There are reports that India won three gold medals by Gool Nashikwala in the 1952 edition in Singapore when she triumphed in singles, doubles and mixed doubles when the Asian competition was held. under the former TT Federation of Asia.
In the 1976 edition of Pyongyang (North Korea) and under the current dispensation of the Asian TT Union (ATTU), Manjit Dua and Vilas Menon won a bronze medal in men’s doubles.
Men’s singles quarter-finals
22-LEE Sangsu KOR bt 33-A Sharath Kamal 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 in 25 minutes
Men’s doubles semi-finals
45-Harmeet Desai / Manav Vikash Thakkar lost to 26-Woojin Jang / Jonghoon Lim of South Korea 4-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 8-11
33-G Sathiyan- A Sharath Kamal lost to 14-Yukiya Uda-Shunsuke Togami of Japan 5-11, 9-11, 11-13