Sharath makes short work of Ma Liang | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Sharath makes short work of Ma Liang

"If there is anybody who can beat Singapore, it is India," said the country's No. 1 paddler, Achanta Sharath Kamal, soon after thumping Ma Liang of Singapore. Sharath won 11-7, 11-3, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6 to storm into the semifinals of the individual category at the Yamuna Sports Complex. Anupma Tripathi reports.

delhi Updated: Oct 13, 2010 00:34 IST
Anupma Tripathi

"If there is anybody who can beat Singapore, it is India," said the country's No. 1 paddler, Achanta Sharath Kamal, soon after thumping Ma Liang of Singapore. Sharath won 11-7, 11-3, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6 to storm into the semifinals of the individual category at the Yamuna Sports Complex.

India need just another win either in the penultimate stage or in the play-offs in men's singles, doubles and women's doubles to ensure themselves of four medals.

Sharath clinched the first three games with utmost ease before conceding the fourth. "By the time the match went into the fourth game, both my shirt and bat were wet with sweat and it affected my focus. I had to change my shirt to regain concentration," he said.

In the decider, he did not give Ma a chance. "Ma is very good with his forehand shots. Had I given him room to put one those to use, the result wouldn't have been the same," he said.

Ranked No. 40 in the world, Sharath looked confident about taking on Singapore's Yang Zi in the semis, who beat England's P. Drinkhall 4-2 in another quarterfinal. "I have played him several times. At the end of the day, it will come down to who plays to his calibre."

Besides Sharath, world No. 245 Soumyadeep Roy too was in scintillating form as he upstaged Singapore's Xiaoli Cai, ranked 70 notches above him. Roy won 11-7, 5-11, 12-10, 11-5, 13-11. Roy will face his biggest test in world No. 17 Gao Ning, who steamrolled A Amalraj 11-1, 4-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 to book his place in the final.

Except for a couple of casualties in Amalraj in men's singles, Roy and Amalraj in doubles, and Madhurika Patkar and Shamini K in women's doubles, the other Indian paddlers moved into the semifinals.

Sharath and Subhajit Saha had little difficulty as they downed Nigeria's Aruna/ Ajetunmobi 3-1 in a match that lasted 19 minutes.