Tokyo Olympics: India's table tennis journey ends as Sharath Kamal loses 3rd round

Sharath Kamal
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Sharath Kamal 

Highlights

  • Sharath Kamal lost 1-4 to World No. 3 Ma Long
  • Ma Long is also a three-time Olympic gold medalist
  • India's challenge in table tennis ended in Tokyo on Tuesday

India's challenge in table tennis ended in Tokyo Olympics as Sharath Kamal lost 1-4 to Chinese defending champion Ma Long in the third round of the men's singles event on Tuesday.

Ranked 32 in the world, according to International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), and seeded 20 in the Tokyo Olympics, Kamal fought hard and kept up with his three-time Olympic champion opponent for the first three games before falling in five games to get eliminated from men's singles category.

Second-seed Ma Long defeated Kamal 11-7, 8-11, 13-11, 11-4, 11-4 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. While the Chinese paddler consistently produced superior attacks, Kamal managed to keep up with his reactions.

After losing the first game 11-7, Kamal improved his attacking to go 8-4 up in the second game. While the Chinese paddler slowly began to make his way back, Kamal kept his composure and with some excellent forehand shots, he equalised at 1-1. Kamal carried the momentum to once again take a lead in the third game but Ma Long soon equalised with some great attacking. Both the players struggled with their returns before the World No. 3 Ma Long took the third game to go 2-1 up in the third round.

From there on, Ma Long lifted his game to another level, extracted several unforced errors from Kamal and sealed the next two games in less than 15 minutes without much trouble.

Earlier, women's singles paddlers Manika Batra and Sutirtha Mukherjee were eliminated on Monday, while Sathiyan Gnanasekaran bowed out two days back. The pair of Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra were also beaten in the first round of the mixed doubles table tennis event.

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