by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The agony was that throughout the deciding fifth game, the Swedes were always ahead.
They led 4-1, then 5-2 at the change of ends, before at 8-5, Ulf “Tickan” Carlsson called “Time Out”; in my view a prudent move, steady the ship and keep up the good work. It appeared the decision was most correct, Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson won the next point, at 9-5 they were in touching distance of a sensation.
Alas for Sweden they lost the next four points, parity at 9-all; then a moment of great hope, 10-9 to Team Karlsson, the champagne in the VIP suite was ready to pop; it was not to be the outcome, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin won the next three points, stunned silence filled the Eriksdalshallen.
Disappointment for Sweden; for India it was mixed fortunes. Harmeet Desai and Soumyajit Ghosh, the no.8 seeds, experienced defeat at the hands of Korea’s Jang Woojin and Jeoung Youngsik, the no.4 seeds (11-9, 11-9, 11-5).
Conversely, it was success for Sharath Kamal Achanta and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, they accounted for fellow qualifiers, the partnership formed by India’s Quadri Aruna and Portugal’s Diogo Carvalho (11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 11-4).
“We won the first game, led 10-9 in the second and lost. We are an established pair, we practise doubles; Quadri and Diogo had never played together before, we had a big advantage. In our partnership I attack more than Sathiyan, previously I’ve been too far back, now we both try to play at mid distance.” Sharath Kamal Achanta
“He’s the team captain, India’s best player for such a long time but I feel really comfortable. I feel it is an equal partnership; if I have an idea, he listens, we talk to each other.” Sathiyan Gnanasekaran
At the semi-final stage Sharath Kamal Achanta and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran meet Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting, the no.3 seeds and quarter-final winners against Korean qualifiers Jeong Sangeun and Park Ganghyeon (11-5, 11-6, 11-8).
In the opposite half of the draw, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin opposes Jang Woojin and Jeoung Youngsik.