Star paddler Sharath Kamal continued his sensational run to reach the finals of both the men’s and mixed doubles events and assure India of at least two more medals at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday. Sharath first paired up with G Sathiyan to beat the Australian pair of Nicholas Lum and Minhyung Jee 3-2 (11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 12-14, 11-7) in a thrilling men’s doubles semifinal clash. The Indian duo will face England’s Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford in the gold medal match.
Sharath then combined with the young Sreeja Akula to enter the mixed doubles final with a sizzling 3-2 win over the Australian duo of Nicholas Lum and Minhyung Jee.
The Indian pair eked out a 11-9 11-8 9-11 12-14 11-7 win and will fight for the gold against Malaysians Karen Lyne and Choong Jayen.
In the women’s singles too, Sreeja put up a good show before suffering a narrow 3-4 defeat to Singapore’s Tianwei Feng.
Akula lost 6-11 11-8 11-6 9-11 8-11 11-8 10-12 to Feng in a pulsating semifinal.
Earlier, Sharath and Sathiyan progressed to the semifinals of the men’s singles event.
While Sharath made short work of Singapore player Yong Izaac Quek 4-0 (11-6 11-7 11-4 11-7), Sathiyan was stretched in his 4-2 (11-5 11-7 11-5 8-11 10-12 11-9) win by England’s Sam Walker.
“It was a great match, all credit to Sam, he fought really hard. I really should have closed in that fifth set but I was a bit nervous,” Sathiyan said.
“I have never beaten Sam, so this came into my mind and it was not so easy to play in a big match like this. I kept my cool in the end and I took the match to get my first (Commonwealth Games) semifinal so I’m really happy,” he added.
However, it was curtains for Sanil Shetty, who squandered a one-game lead to go down to home favourite Liam Pitchford 1-4 (11-9 6-11 8-11 8-11 4-11).
In the women’s doubles, both Indian pairs — Sreeja Akul and Reeth Tennison, and Manika Batra and Diya Chitale — won their round of 16 matches.
Akula and Tennnison defeated Chloe Anna Thomas Wu Zhang and Lara Whitton of Wales 11-7 11-4 11-3.
Batra and Chitale beat Mauritian pair Jalim Nandeshwaree and Oumehani Hosenally 11-5 11-5 11-3.
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