Chengdu [China], October 1 (ANI): Indian women's table tennis team had an unpleasant start to their campaign at the ongoing World Team Table Tennis Championship 2022 after they lost to Germany in a closely-fought opener.
India succumbed to a 3-2 loss to Germany. This five-set battle was highly intense and full of exciting action.
Manika Batra started off things for India in the first game against Han Ying. The star Indian player was absolutely helpless in the face of the strokeplay and speed of Ying as she succumbed to a 3-0 defeat in the game by 11-3, 11-1, 11-2. Batra barely got a chance to score.
Sreeja Akula was the next one for India, hoping to make India bounce back from a 1-0 trailing. Nina Mittelham was her opponent. Akula did just what was expected from her. The Commonwealth Game 2022 medalist made things even for India, winning her game 3-0 by 11-9, 12-10, 11-7. This game was in contrast with the first one, featuring more competitive gameplay.
Things were even at 1-1 for both teams.
Diya Parag Chitale was next to face off against Sabine Winter. The Indian was off to a good start, winning the first two sets. Both sets were extremely competitive and ended with scorelines of 11-9, 11-8 reading in Chitale's favour. Winter however made a comeback with a 6-11 win in the next set, letting Chitale come only halfway through in the scoreline. Chitale however bounced back to win the next set by 13-11 and seal the game by 3-1.
India at this point gained a lead of 2-1, coming back from trailing 0-1.
Germany's Nina Mittelham however pulled back things in Germany's favour once again, as Manika Batra returned after a slightly better, but failed attempt to win the game. Nina won the game 3-1, by 7-11,11-6,11-7,11-8 despite losing the first set. At this point, Germany made things even at 2-2.
In the final game, Sreeja Akula returned in order to seal a crucial game. Han Ying was her opponent. India fumbled on the momentum gained after two back-to-back wins as Akula lost the final game 3-0 by 3-11, 5-11, 4-11.
Germany won the match by 3-2.
Earlier, Indian men's table tennis win made a winning start to their campaign at the ongoing World Team Table Tennis Championships in China with a win over Uzbekistan in their first Group 2 match of the tournament on Saturday.
Team India crushed their opponents, gaining a clean sweep of 3-0 in their match.
For India, it was Harmeet Desai who started off things in the first game. His opponent was Elmurod Kholikov. Desai got off to a good start, winning the first set, a competitive one by 11-9. Desai followed it with a win by identical margin in set two. In set three, India squashed his Uzbekistan opponent, taking his share of 11 points, while allowing Kholikov to score only one point. Desai won the first game by 3-0.
With this, India gained a 1-0 lead in the match.
Commonwealth Games 2022 medalist Sathiyan Gnanasekaran was next to play for India, with Anorboev Abdulaziz set to face him. Gnanasekaran was off to a fantastic start. India's highest-ranked TT star downed Anorboev in the first set by 11-3. Anorboev got some points on his side in the next set, but the scoreline still read 11-6 in favour of the Indian. In the final set, Uzbekistan was in a tight battle with Gnanasekaran and looked good enough to win it, but Gnanasekaran won it by 11-9.
Yet another Indian won the second game, making things 2-0 in their favour.
The next set was a must-win for Uzbekistan.
Manav Thakkar stepped in to play this set for India, with Iskandarov Shokhrukh as his opponent.
Shokhrukh gave a tough fight to the Indian, making him toil for points. However, the 22-year-old Thakkar kept his composure to win the first set 11-8. Thakkar continued with the momentum gained after a tough but favourable first set, winning the next two sets by 11-5 each. Thakkar had won his game by 3-0. As a result, Team India won their first match of the world championships by a clean sweep of 3-0.
The World Team Table Tennis Championships started in China on September 30 and will go on till October 9. (ANI)