Jakarta: The Indian men’s table tennis team edged past Japan 3-1 in the quarter-final to assure itself of a historic first medal while women’s lost their quarter-final clash against Hong Kong at the 18th Asian Games here on Monday.
G. Sathiyan won two matches while veteran Achanta Sharath Kamal won one as they ousted Japan, the last edition’s bronze medallist.
World number 39 Sathiyan beat World number 19 Kenta Matsudaira 3-1 (12-10, 6-11, 11-7, 11-4) in the fourth match to secure a passage in the semi-finals and assure India of at least a bronze medal.
It was Sathiyan who gave India a good start, beating Jin Ueda.
Sharath then defeated Kenta Matsudaira 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 to take a 2-0 lead.
Japan then stretched India to the fourth match after Masaki Yoshida beat Harmeet Desai 9-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4.
Earlier, they beat Vietnam and Macau by identical scoreline of 3-0 in Group D to finish second.
In the game against Vietnam, India were utterly dominant and wrapped up the tie in two hours.
Sathiyan started the proceedings with a hard fought 6-11, 11-2, 5-11, 11-4, 11-2 win in the opening encounter against Vietnam’s Anh Tu Nguyen.
Sharath then made it 2-0 with a 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 win over Nguyen.
Harmeet Desai wrapped up the tie with a 2-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-8 win over Duc Le Dinh.
India blanked Macau 3-0 in their first game of the day.
Manav Thakkar defeated Ian Tin Mak 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 to steer India to a 3-0 victory.
The seasoned Anthony Amalraj gave India a 1-0 lead courtesy his 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 facile triumph over Chun Wang.
Harmeet next got the better of Zikang Xiao 11-4, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3 to extend India’s lead to 2-0.
The women’s team, meanwhile, lost their quarters clash against Hong Kong 1-3.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manika Batra gave India a good start beating Ho Ching Lee but Ayhika Mukherjee lost her match to Hoi Kem Doo, while Mouma Das suffered a reversal at the hands of Wai Yam Minnie to derail their campaign.
Manika then fluffed her lines in the fourth match of the game against Hoi Kem Doo as Hong Kong took the tie 3-1.
In the first game, Manika got the better of Lee Ho Ching 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6 to put India ahead.
Ayhika failed to cash in on the early advantage, losing to Doo Hoi Kem 14-12, 4-11, 10-12, 8-11.
Mouma followed suit too, losing to Soo Wai Yam Minnie 6-11, 13-11, 11-8, 3-11, 5-11 before Manika finished second best in the final encounter.