Indian women paddlers stunned fancied Thailand 3-0, while their male counterparts edged past Iran 3-2 to enter the Asian Table Tennis Championship quarterfinals in Macau.
For the Indian women, it was their maiden entry into the champion division of the meet. They will now take on the Chinese.
Though it will be tough against the champions, the Indian girls, particularly Poulomi Ghatak, can take pride in what they achieved against Thailand.
Mouma Das opened the proceedings by beating Anisara Muangsuk in straight games of 11-9, 11-7, 12-10 while Poulomi kept the momentum by overcoming Nanthana Komwong with a 11-4, 14-12, 11-6 to give India a commanding lead.
This lead proved decisive for Ankita Das who, despite losing a game to Suttlux Rattanaprayoon, won 14-12, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5, leaving Thailand to compete for the ninth place.
National coach Bhavani Mukherjee praised national champion Poulomi for the gutsy play she put up against her Thai opponent.
"Poulomi was too good today with her attacking game that left her opponent clueless. This momentum also helped Ankita in the third rubber," he said.
The men paddlers also overcame a tough Iran 3-2 to move into the quarterfinals where they will meet Chinese Taipei.
Earlier, they had beaten Bahrain and UAE with an identical 3-0 margin
Noshad Alamiyan, backbone of Iran, first accounted for Soumyajit Ghosh 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 but Achanta Sharath Kamal restored parity with an 11-5, 16-14, 11-3 win over Akhlaghpasand Mohammad Reza.
National champion A Amalraj then downed Alamian Darounkolaei Nima 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6 to put India in the lead.
Sharath Kamal, however, lost his reverse singles to Alamiyan Daronkolaei Noshad 11-7, 9-11, 10-12, 6-11. But Ghosh played an altogether different game in the decider to beat Akhlaghpasand Mohammed Reza 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 and seal India a quarterfinal place.
The format of the championships is that teams finishing first in each group progress to the knockout stage with two finalists from there entering the champion division.