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TT: Sharath reigns in North Korea

September 05, 2007 15:40 IST

India's top paddler Sharath Kamal showed red hot form as he prevailed over a tough field to win the singles title at the 21st Pyongyang Invitational tournament in North Korea.

Though the win in an invitational meet would not push him above his current world ranking of 74, nevertheless it will be a huge boost for Sharath as the tournament featured players from seven countries, including China, Hong Kong, Singapore and host North Korea.

The Chennai boy showed guts and nerves of steel as he came through three seven-set matches in the pre-quarters, quarter-finals and in the final in a tough tournament played between August 30 to September 3.

The hosts suffered Sharath's fury as their top four players, including the defending champion, ended up at the wrong end of the table from the last 16 stage.

 Sharath stunned defending champion Kim Chol Jin 4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-4 in the round of 16.

Sharath showed great character in the quarter-final match against Chang Sang Mau as he saved four match points en route to a 13-11, 4-11, 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 15-13 victory.

The semi-final was relatively easier as Sharath went past Pi Chol Cuk 6-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4.

And in the final, he beat North Korea's top player Kim Hyok Bong 10-12, 12-10, 5-11, 11-8, 13-15, 11-8, 11-6.

"This is a great win for me. The field was tough and North Korean players are very good. They do not play outside their country and that is the reason they are not high in world rankings," Sharath said.

India finished fifth in men's team championship, and seventh in the women's.

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