Sharath loses to Japanese prodigy in semis

NEW DELHI, Feb 18: India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta tumbled out of the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open, capitulating to Japan’s thirteen-year-old sensation Tomokazu Horimoto here at the Thyagaraja Sradium on Saturday night.
Sharath, who survived two match points earlier in the day to outwit and outlast the tricky Paul Drinkhall of England in the quarterfinals, couldn’t unravel his fearless young opponent and lost 2-4 for a disappointing finish.
In the women’s singles, Matilda Ekholm of Sweden will clash with Sakura Mori of Japan for the crown. Ekholm got the better of top seed Hoi Kem Doo of Hong Kong 4-3 to earn a shot at the crown. Mori braved past Wing Nam NG in a seven-game duel to book her place in the final.
Sharath began sharply taking a quick 3-0 lead in the first game. But the young lad clawed back and eased into a 8-6 lead. He hustled away to win it 11-7.
The seven-time national champion jumped to a 4-0 lead in the second game too; he, however, didn’t let the advantage slip away this time, taking it 11-5. He couldn’t sustain the supremacy though, getting hoodwinked by Horimoto’s deceptive flicks. He lost 7-11 to realise that he couldn’t take his little opponent lightly.
But Sharath soon found himself trailing 4-5, 6-8 and down two game points as well. He changed tack at this stage, resorting to his backhand serve to subvert the Japanese’s backhand flick. It paid dividends as he ended up winning it 13-11 to tie two games all.
That was, however, the end of his fight. He lost the next two games almost tamely to squander the wonderful opportunity to enter the final.(source: IMG Reliance)
Photo caption: Tomokazu Horimoto reacts after the game.(photo: 11even sports)