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TTFI News 14th-Mar-2024
Sharath enters quarters in Singapore

New Delhi, March 14: Forty-one-year old A. Sharath Kamal continued his stirring run at Singapore Smash as he became the first Indian paddler to make it to the quarterfinals on Thursday.


On his way to a glorious chapter in the third edition of the US $1.5 million event, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist beat World No. 22 Omar Assar from Egypt 3-0 (11-4, 11-8, 12-10) in the pre-quarterfinals.


The Indian paddler had it easy against the 32-year-old Egyptian in the first two rounds, but in the third, the World No. 22 put up a good resistance. Sharath made a few mistakes midway, and his opponent cashed in to deuce. However, Sharath grabbed the opportunity to win the last two crucial points and advance to another upset. 


In the quarters, the 10-time national champion would face Felix Lebrun of France for a place in the medal rounds.


“I would say that it was all because of the way we had prepared for the World Championships in Korea (Busan). Secondly, the confidence we have gained after the teams qualified for the Paris Olympics," he said.


"Honestly, I didn't expect it to go so far in the (Singapore) Smash event because it has not happened before. I had to go through the qualification rounds, and to do what I did was excellent. I am immensely happy about it, especially my fitness part and focus," he said.


World No. 88 Sharath had on Wednesday shocked World No. 13 Darko Jorgic of Slovenia in the round of 32 after coming through the qualification rounds, beating Andre Istrate of Romania, Yuta Tanaka of Japan and Slovenian Deni Kozul to seal his spot in the main draw.


In the first round of the main draw, the Chennai-based player downed Chilean World No. 31 Nicolas Burgos 3-0 (11-5, 11-4, 11-6) to enter the round of 32.


The win today has, more or less, assured Sharath a berth in the singles event of the Paris Olympics later this year, as he could find himself in the top brackets (in the top 32) of world rankings yet again.


India can send only two entries in the singles event, though both our men's and women's squads have qualified for the team events, another first for Indian table tennis.