Sharath Kamal beats Spanish clubmate in Olympic TT

August 19th, 2008 - 2:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 19 (IANS) India’s Achanta Sharath Kamal made things a little difficult for himself before beating his Spanish clubmate Alfredo Carneros in the first round of the Olympic table tennis competition at the Peking University Gymnasium here Tuesday.Sharath Kamal, a Melbourne Commonwealth Games gold medallist, lost the two games from a position of strength before winning the best-of-seven games contest 4-2. He won 6-11, 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 against a player with whom he has been sparring for over two years as a club professional in Spain.

In the second round, Sharath Kamal will face Austrian Chen Weixing, who got a bye.

Though the Indian Oil executive from Chennai and Carneros play for Spain’s San Sebastian Club, they had never met at any international competition. But it was clear that Sharath was far superior to Carneros.

Had it not been for some erratic streaks of play, the Indian should have won straight.

Both in the first and the fourth games he lost, he had a handy early lead. In the fourth game he had a four-point lead before the Spaniard caught up with him at eight.

However, in the fifth and sixth games, the Indian steadied himself and even luck was on his side when a couple of netchords and edges went his way. An exasperated Spaniard watched Sharath Kamal’s match-winning drive kiss the long end of the table before skidding away.

Key to Sharath Kamal’s success was his clever variation of service at crucial stages of the fifth and sixth games. He attacked from close of the the table and when pushed back he defended reasonably well even though the Spaniard got the better of him a couple of occasions.

In the fifth game Sharath Kamal had run up a 7-1 lead and in the sixth game he jumped to 9-4 after being down 1-3 to start with, reeling off eight points while conceding just one.

There was some alarm, considering his dodgy knee, as he went sprawling in the fifth game trying to reach a drive, but luckily he was back on his feet to carry on.

India’s other contestant Delhi girl Neha Aggarwal lost in her first round Monday.

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