Cuttack (Odisha) [India], July 18 (ANI): Indian men and women team booked their semi-final slots after winning their super eights group matches in the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium on Thursday.
The Indian women's team finished their engagements in group F with emphatic triumphs over Wales (3-0), Malaysia (3-0) and Nigeria (3-0).
Earlier, Indian men's team defeated Sri Lanka and Malaysia with identical 3-0 margins to seal their semi-final berth.
Anthony Amalraj, who got to play his matches today, had it rather easy against Sri Lankan Krishan Wickramaratha, cleaning him up with a 3-0 verdict in the opener was found to be struggling a bit against Malaysian Feng Chee Leong. But the Indian overcame the initial hiccups to beat him 3-1.
As for the rest of the matches, they were as simple as they could get as G. Sathiyan and Manav Thakkar formed part of the squad against Sri Lanka while Sharath Kamal and Harmeet Desai were pitted against Malaysia.
Coaches Australian Brett Clarke and Soumyadeep Roy gave ample opportunities to all the players before the knockout stages and finals tomorrow. Like in men, Archana was the common factor in all the three matches while the two coaches rotated the other players, including Manika Batra, Madhurika Patkar, Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ayhika Mukherjee. All the players came out with flying colours against their opponents.
Besides India, England men and women, too, made the semi-final grade as they notched up two wins each. England men's team beat Singapore 3-2 while they claimed a 3-1 victory over Australia. Their women's side, on the other hand, beat Australia 3-1 and then trounced Sri Lanka 3-0.
With two slots left in each of the two sections, the teams that look to book their berths are Singapore and Nigeria, barring a problem or two in the last match.
Only one of the two Indians, G. Sathiyan and Manav Thakkar, would progress to the medal round as they were drawn in the same quarter while the other three Indians were lucky to find themselves evenly distributed into the other quarters.
All the Indian male players were among the top eight seeds (based on their ITTF July ranking) while only three women players Manika Batra, Archana Kamath and Madhurika Patkar were seeded and got first-round byes in the main draw. The remaining two Sutirtha and Ayhika will have to make it to the main draw through qualifiers. (ANI)