by Ian Marshall Editor
They say you wait an hour for the red bus to arrive and then two follow immediately; it is the same at the Asian Games. In the Men’s Team event, two days earlier, India had clinched bronze, their first ever table tennis medal at an Asian Games since the sport was introduced in 1958 into the multi-sport gathering.
In Jakarta, the no.9 seeds, in the third round of proceedings, they beat Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee, the no.3 seeds (11-7, 7-11, 8-11, 10-12, 11-4), prior to ousting DPR Korea’s An Ji Song and Cha Hyo Sim, the no.15 seeds (4-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8) to be assured of a medal. At the Asian Games, two bronze medals are awarded.
Understandably it was a delighted Sharath Kamal Achanta.
“It was good, we are very happy. After we lost the first game and we were losing in the second game, I didn’t know what we should do at that point; somehow we found the strategy as the match progressed. They were very strong, Cha Hyo Sim played incredibly, An Ji Song followed up well. They played very strongly but in the close moments we took some chances and it came out right. We had a better strategy than them in the end.” Sharath Kamal Achanta
Success against An Ji Song and Cha Hyo Sim, it was a most notable success, one round earlier they had beaten Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan and Chen Szu-Yu, the no.5 seeds (11-5, 11-7, 12-10).
A semi-final place reserved but for Sharath Kamal Achanta and Manika Batra it was to be the end of the road; they were beaten by Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha, the no.10 seeds, as play progressed from best of five games contests to best of seven games affairs (11-9, 11-5, 11-13, 11-4, 11-8).
“It’s been a long day here having to play the whole day but we are happy with the result. We will have to play our best tomorrow in the final and try to challenge them. We are teammates, we are all familiar with each other.” Sun Yingsha
“It will depend on who makes lesser mistakes on court tomorrow, we will do our best to fight.” Wang Chuqin
Imposing from Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha, it had been the same from start to finish; notably at the quarter-final stage they had beaten Singapore’s Gao Ning and Yu Mengyu, the no.11 seeds (11-9, 11-6, 11-5), having one round earlier upset the order of merit by ousting Japan’s Jin Ueda and Miyu Maeda, the no.8 seeds (11-7, 11-6, 11-9).
“It was not easy playing the Chinese pair but we definitely have some chances, we didn’t seize the opportunity in the first game.” Gao Ning
Notably, in the third round Gao Ning and Yu Mengyu had caused a major upset by overcoming Hong Kong’s Wong Chin Ting and Doo Hoi Kem (11-9, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8). Defeat for the Singaporeans but a brave effort, in a tournament that has witnessed a very full schedule.
“I think we played well today, especially in the match earlier against Hong Kong but two days of team events before this today. I was a little tired.” Yu Mengyu
Upsets abundant in the lower half of the draw; in the upper half it was somewhat different. Ho Kwan Kit and Lee Ho Ching like Wong Chin Ting and Doo Hoi Kem from Hong Kong, emerged the bronze medallists. The no.7 seeds, they caused a quarter-final upset by beating Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Cheng I-Ching, the no.7 seeds (11-7, 11-8, 11-2), to reserve their place in the penultimate.
Most certainly it was a fine effort from the Hong Kong duo, Cheng I-Ching acknowledging the fact their opponents had been most astute.
“They were able to gain an upper hand right from the start of the match and took control till the end. They focused on their first three strokes, service and receive; they attacked our backhands so we couldn’t attack back easily. Hence we played passively. They came into the match better prepared than us, and so we weren’t able to get into the match fast”, explained Cheng I-Ching
However, as with Sharath Kamal Achanta and Manika Batra, China proved the nemesis. They experienced defeat at the hands of Lin Gaoyuan and Wang Manyu, the top seeds (11-7, 11-7, 11-3, 11-3).
Earlier in the quarter-final round Lin Gaoyuan and Wang Manyu had accounted for Korea Republic’s Lim Jonghoon and Yang Haeun, the no.6 seeds (11-6, 11-6, 11-8).
“It’s not easy playing four matches in a day but making it to the final shows that our preparation has worked and we have improved. We are very confident for the final tomorrow.” Sun Yingsha
“We are now just one step away from the gold medal, it’s important for us to relax and just play our best tomorrow.” Lin Gaoyuan
The final is scheduled for 7.00 pm (local time) on Thursday 30th August.
2018 Asian Games: Mixed Doubles (Wednesday 29th August)
Schedule, Entries, Seeding, Earlier Results
2018 Asian Games: Men’s Team Final – Korea Republic v China (Tuesday 28th August)
2018 Asian Games: Women’s Team Final – DPR Korea v China (Tuesday 28th August)
2018 Asian Games: Women’s Team – China v Korea Republic (Tuesday 28th August)
2018 Asian Games: Women’s Team – Hong Kong v DPR Korea (Tuesday 28th August
2018 Asian Games: Men’s Team – China v Chinese Taipei (Tuesday 28th August)
2018 Asian Games: Men’s Team – Korea Republic v India (Tuesday 28th August)
2018 Asian Games: Seeding – Men’s Singles (Updated Tuesday 28th August)
2018 Asian Games: Seeding – Women’s Singles (Updated 28th August)
2018 Asian Games: Seeding Mixed Doubles (Updated Tuesday 28th August)
2018 Asian Games: Men’s Team – China v Hong Kong (Monday 27th August)
2108 Asian Games: Men’s Team – Iran v Chinese Taipei (Monday 27th August)
2018 Asian Games: Men’s Team – Korea Republic v DPR Korea (Monday 27th August)
2108 Asian Games: Men’s Team – India v Japan (Moday 27th August)
2018 Asian Games: Women’s Team – China v Japan (Monday 27th August)
2018 Asian Games: Women’s Team – Singapore v Korea Republic (Monday 27th August)
2018 Asian Games: Women’s Team – India v Hong Kong (Monday 27th August)
2018 Asian Games: Women’s Team – Chinese Taipei v DPR Korea (Monday 27th August)
2018 Asian Games: Results – Detailed Summary (Updated Monday 27th August)
2018 Asian Games: Schedule of Play
2018 Asian Games: Entries – Overall
2018 Asian Games: Results – Detailed Summary (Updated Sunday 26th August)