by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
A somewhat tentative start from Sharath Kamal Achanta against Bode Abiodun but from the start of the second game, more positive, he assumed control of the game.
The second and third games both secured with a degree of comfort, in the fourth he established a 7-5 lead; Bode Abiodun called “Time Out”. The break did not stem the tide, at 10-7, Sharath Kamal Achanta held three match points; Bode Abiodun won the next two points, Massimo Costantini called “Time Out”, the pause worked, Sharath Kamal Achanta punched the air, India held the early lead.
“I really was surprised in the first game how well Bode played, I made mistakes receiving his service and he had no problems with my service. From the second game onwards I changed my services, I served more to his backhand, not middle and forehand. I made sure I was the first to attack. At 10-7 in the fourth game I saw the winning post, I was rushing so at 10-9 I took the “Time Out”. I think we were lucky, it was good we didn’t play Nigeria in the morning and of course we were fortunate Quadri Aruna did not play.” Sharath Kamal Achanta
Advantage India, a highly motivated Sathiyan Gnanasekaran entered the arena, after losing the opening game against Segun Toriola, one in which had held a 10-6 lead, he moved into a totally new gear. He was just too fast for his worthy opponent, he forced Segun Toriola into the passive role, a four games win was secured (10-12, 11-3, 11-3, 11-4).
Two matches to nil ahead, the momentum was now with India; Sathiyan Gnanasekaran returned to the arena to partner Harmeet Desai. Nigeria changed from earlier selections, Olajide Omotayo joined forces with Bode Abiodun. Whatever the combination the die was cast, Harmeet Desai and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran established control and maintained control, a straight games win was recorded (11-8, 11-5, 11-3).
“In the first game I was ahead 10-6, I thought I’d won the game, I lost focus, I made easy mistakes but I felt confident, I felt I was playing well. After losing the first game I said to myself start again from love-all. My legs were fast I was quick to attack. He needed time to play his strokes, so I tried to give him no time. The doubles was perfect with Harmeet, we were strong from the very first point.” Sathiyan Gnanasekaran
Once again as the previous evening when their female compatriots has emerged successful, the top step of the podium belonged to India.