New Delhi: Achantha Sharath Kamal and Mouma Das suffered contrasting semifinal defeats in their respective singles as India rounded up its Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships campaign without a single gold medal, here on Friday. At least six of the eight semifinals, including doubles, featured host players but none of them could make the summit clash as India bagged nine medals, including two silvers.
The most disappointing result for the hosts came when defending champions Kamal and Subhajit Saha settled for bronze following defeat at the hands of inexperienced English pair of Christopher Doran and Samuel Walker in the men's doubles. The defending champions failed to match the exuberance and agility of the young English pair, losing the match 11-4, 8-11, 11-6, 10-12, 7-11.
In the men's singles, Kamal (70) tried hard to match the swiftness of Hu Li, the world No 55 from Singapore, but lost the match 10-12, 7-11, 13-11, 10-12, 4-11. In the first game, the 31-year-old Indian made a costly service error at 10-10. He conceded point at crucial juncture as his serve found net. Out of frustration, he threw his racquet in the air.
Li, who had beaten Kamal in the team competition also, showed no mercy as he opened up a 2-0 lead after easily pocketing the second game. Kamal dug deep into his resources and mustered all his will power to take the next game and be in contention. He was sending in quick backhand returns and seemed more comfortable in longer rallies.
In the fourth game, they were neck-and-neck with Kamal just a point behind till at 7-8. Another error, when he failed to connect the ball to his racquet, cost him dear as the Singaporean moved one game away from win. Li was ruthless in the final game and easily clinched the issue to set up the title clash with top seeded compatriot Jian Zhan.
"My service was particularly not good. It was not a good match for me. I should have made match out of it," Kamal said.
In the womens singles, Mouma Das fought her heart out before losing to top seed Mengyu Yu. They played aggressively, drawing cheers from small crowd at the Thyagaraj Stadium. After losing the first game 8-11, Das came back strongly in the next one as she was leading 9-3 at one stage. She was just two points away from drawing parity but her world number 27 showed tremendous fight back and stretched the game.
Eventually the Indian took it 17-15 and won the next game also to take a 2-1 lead. Mengyu, however raised her game and the Indian had real tough time to handle her sharpe returns and agile footwork. The Singaporean won 4-2 to book a place in the finals.
In another match, Manika Batra failed to breach the defense of Canada's Mo Zhang. In the women's semifinal, Mouma Das and K Shamini were blanked 0-3 by top seed pair of Feng Tianwei and Mengyu Yu of Singapore. In the other last-four match India's Madhurika Patkar and Neha Aggarwal lost 1-3 to England's Joanna Parker and Kelly Sibley.
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