Wuxi (China), Apr 11 (PTI) The Indian men’s team squandered a flurry of chances to lose 2-3 to formidable Japan in the quarterfinals of the Asian Table Tennis Championships here today.
With the two quarterfinal clashes scheduled on adjacent tables and focus entirely on China’s Zhang Jike, what took the breath of a packed hall here was the men’s team contest between India and Japan.
And India, which nearly pulled of a sensational result against the Japanese, squandered chance after chance to go down. Koki Niwa played a pivotal role in Japan’s victory, winning both his matches.
After Soumyajit Ghosh had given his team a perfect start with a win over Yuya Oshima (7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6), Sharath Kamal held a total of three match points in the fourth game against Koki Niwa before losing 11-1, 6-11, 8-11, 14-12, 12-10.
The agony continued as Harmeet Desai, despite leading 2 -1 and 10-all in the fourth game against Kenta Matsudaira, suffered a five-game defeat (5-11, 8-11, 11-2, 14-12, 11-6).
But Sharath returned with vengeance to beat Yuya Oshima 11-8, 11-13, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6 to set up an intriguing decider between Ghosh and Koki Niwa.
Ghosh began well but eventually lost as the verdict went in favour of Koki Niwa, who won 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 to be the hero of the hour.
India, who subsequently lost the 5-6 positions match against Hong Kong 0-3, will now play for the 7-8 positions tomorrow.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.