Sharath Kamal led India's charge into the men’s team table tennis final, trouncing world No. 15 Aruna Quadri as the defending champions whipped Nigeria 3-0 at the Commonwealth Games, on Monday.
Gnanasekaran Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai won the opening doubles, beating Olajide Omotayo and Abiodun Bode 11-6, 11-6, 11-7, to set the tone for the tie.
The 40-year-old Sharath, a nine-time Commonwealth Games medallist, won the crucial second singles against Quadri 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 15-13 to put India on course for victory.
It was an intense battle between the two opponents who know each other's game inside out. Sharath employed a high-risk strategy that helped him win the first game.
The Nigerian bounced back to level scores before Sharath upped his game in the third with some crisp backhand winners.
The fourth turned out be the most entertaining for spectators at the NEC arena. Long and fast rallies had everyone on the edge of their seats. The best rally (19 shots) of the match came late in the game with Quadri winning it for 9-8.
Sharath then used the body smash as his get-out-of-jail card to make it 10-10.
The Indian star, who has won three gold, two silver and three bronze from four Commonwealth Games appearances (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018), had the last laugh as Quadri netted a backhand.
India's highest ranked player Sathiyan then battled past Omotayo 11-9, 4-11, 11-6, 11-8 to complete a fine victory.