Surat, December 21: Anthony Amalraj could not become the only second Indian after Achanta Sharath Kamal to win the men’s singles gold as he went down to Singapore’s Chen Feng 2-4 in the Avadh 20th Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships at the Pandit Dindayal Upadhyay Indoor Stadium here today. The women singles gold, too, went the Singapore way when Zhou Yiyan beat Mouma Das 4-1.
However, this was the best ever Indian showing in a Commonwealth Championships as the hosts led the medal tally with three gold, five silver and seven bronze medals, including a gold and silver in team championships, for the total count of 16 medals. India’s highest tally was nine medals which the hosts had won at New Delhi two years ago.
Incidentally, Sharath’s was also the only individual medal in any championships and that came in 2004, besides leading the team to its first gold.
Singapore finished behind India with four gold and a team bronze medal. England’s men ended with one silver and their women, a bronze while Northern Ireland men and the women from Wales shared a bronze each.
Amalraj did well to come back but Chen’s strategy in game five paid off. Playing topspin game and serving with a lot of backspin, he put Amalraj in all sorts of trouble even as the game went neck and neck. No doubt, the Indian covered and used the angles well sending in down-the-line strokes which surprised the Singaporean. There were good, fast topspin rallies too from both. However, once he pocketed game five on the second game point, he surged ahead with a 9-3 lead in the sixth and Amalraj could at best close in but never alter the course of the final.
The women’s singles final went along the expected line. Mouma could not raise her game against the world No. 46 and a superior paddler. After losing the first two games 7 and 5, the Indian gave a glimpse of return when she took the third. However, before Mouma could cause any further damage Zhou went on the offensive mode which fetched her gold, leaving the lesser medal to Mouma.
In what was all-Indians second semifinal, Amalraj had the upper hand despite losing the first game rather sedately. But he picked momentum to lead 3-1 before allowing Sanil one game. But that was all he could do as Amalraj sealed the fate soon than later in the morning session.
When Ghosh was up 7-4 in the decider in the semifinals against Chen Feng, it looked he had preserved silver, if not gold. But the world No. 95 let the world No. 176 Singaporean off the hook, allowing him, initially a fewer points, and then the liberty to walk into the final. Ghosh tried his comeback and reached 9-10. Maybe a deuce at this stage could have brought him back in the match, but his push-return only went out to the elation of Chen.
In women’s singles semifinals, Manika Batra couldn’t do much against top-seeded Zhou Yihan as the latter was on top right from the word go. The Indian managed just five points in each game was an indicator of the authority with which Zhou played. Zhou was adept to whatever variations that Manika brought in her service and simply smashed all highballs Manika sent at her.
On the other hand, Mouma after taking the first two games was pushed into her shell by Lin Ye. The Singapore woman was strong with her heavy topspin rallies and backspin service. That fetched her real dividends and she went a game up at 3-2. But Mouma, summoning all her experience, brought her back in the match when she took the sixth game. From there, it was Mouma all the way as Lin couldn’t do much against the wily Indian veteran.
Ghosh-Desai claim gold
Soumyajit Ghosh and Harmeet Desai deservingly won the men’s double gold, beating teammates G. Sathiyan and Devesh Karia 3-2. The tough final saw good, speedy rallies but the experienced pair held on to go over the line. Earlier in the semifinals, Ghosh and Desai did not have to push themselves far to beat compatriots Sudhanshu Grover and Abhishek Yadav 3-1. But it was a shock defeat for another reputed pair of Anthony Amalraj and Sanil Shetty against the new combination of G. Sathiyan and Devesh Karia. The latter duo simply packed off, winning the second semifinal 3-0.
In women’s doubles, Lin Ye and Zhou Yihan of Singapore defeated Manika Batra and Ankita Das 3-0 without a whimper for the gold medal. The Indians had to satisfy with the silver. Earlier, India won another bronze through Mouma Das and K. Shamini who lost 2-3 in the semifinals to Singapore’s top pair of Lin Yee and Zhou Yihan who had to shed early glitches to beat their Indian opponents.
Men’s Singles: Final: Chen Feng (SIN) bt Anthony Amalraj 4-2 (11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 6-11, 14-12, 11-7); Semifinals: Chen Feng (SIN) bt Soumyajit Ghosh 4-3 (11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9), Anthony Amalraj bt Sanil Shetty 4-2 (6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-3, 7-11, 11-7).
Women’s Singles: Final: Zhou Yihan (SIN) bt Mouma Das 4-1 (11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 11-2, 11-3); Semifinals: Zhou Yiyan (SIN) bt Manika Batra 4-0 (11-5, 11-5, 11-5, 11-5), Mouma Das bt Lin Ye (SIN) 4-3 (12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 1-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7).
Men’s Doubles: Final: Soumyajit Ghosh/Harmeet Desai bt G. Sathiyan/Devesh Karia 3-2 (5-11, 11-.8, 10-12, 11-9, 11-3); Semifinals: Soumyajit Ghosh/Harmeet Desai bt Sudhanshu Grover/Abhishek Yadav 3-1 (11-1, 12-14, 11-9, 11-2), G. Sathiyan/Devesh Karia bt Anthony Amalraj/Sanil Shetty 3-0 (15-13, 11-4, 11-6).
Women’s Doubles: Final: Lin Ye/Zhou Yihan (SIN) bt Manika Batra/Ankita Das 3-0 (11-6, 11-9, 11-9); Semifinals: Manika Batra/Ankita Das bt Koh Kai Xin Pearlyn/Yee Herng Hwee (SIN) 3-0 (11-4, 11-2, 11-8), Lin Ye/Zhou Yihan (SIN) bt Mouma Das/K. Shamini 3-2 (3-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8).
Note: (Singapore’s all opponents were Indians).
- Rankings no yardstick to gauge team talent in CTTC
- Singapore, India enter second stage; joint debut success for Harmeet, Devesh
- Singapore teams get top billing, Indians seeded 2nd
- Dream draw for India women
- Indian women meet England, Singapore clash with Wales in semifinals
- Indian men strike gold, women silver
- Indians keep the faith, enter main draw
- Indians on course for a record medal hunt
- Sathiyan-Ankita pair hunts down, Ghosh-Mouma for gold