table tennis

Veteran table tennis star Achanta Sharath Kamal. (IANS photo)

GONDOMAR, Portugal — The Indian men and women table tennis teams are just one win away from securing their maiden Olympics qualification after they recorded victories against Luxembourg and Sweden respectively in the Team Qualifier on Jan. 23.

A quarterfinal finish will ensure qualification for the Tokyo Olympics. India has never made it as a team in Olympic history.

It was Sharath Kamal and Harmeet Desai who helped India to get a winning start, beating Gilles Michely and Eric Glod 11-9, 16-14, 11-6 in the opening doubles.

India's highest ranked paddler G. Sathiyan then lost the first two games in the singles match against Luka Mladenovic before fighting back to prevail 8-11, 9-11, 11-3, 13-11, 11-6.

Sharath then conceded a game to Glod but eventually won 11-3, 11-3, 12-14, 11-5 to complete a 3-0 victory.

Slovenia beat Iran 3-1 in their round of 32 match and will now take on India.

The Indian women too are a win away from creating history and making their maiden appearance at the Olympic level.

They beat Sweden 3-2 after Archana Kamath beat Linda Bergstrom in the fifth and deciding rubber. She won 11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11.

Earlier, top-ranked Indian Manika Batra won both her singles matches prevailing over Bergstrom and Christina Kallberg 3-1 and 3-2 respectively.

India will now have to get past Romania in the pre-quarterfinals on Jan. 24.

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