The Achanta Sharath Kamal-Poulomi Ghatak and Soumyadeep Roy-Mouma Das pairs were defeated but not disgraced as the Indian paddlers put up a spirited fight before ending up gallant losers against higher-ranked opponents in the mixed doubles of the Table Tennis competition at the Asian Games in Doha on Sunday.
On a day of lop-sided matches where traditional powerhouses bulldozed over the minnows on the table, both the Indian pairs gave a good account of themselves before eventually going down.
The Sharath Kamal-Poulomi Ghatak pair lost 6-11, 8-11, 9-11 against the Korean duo of Lee Jung Woo and Lee Eun Hee, arguably two of the fastest players in the world.
In the other match, Soumyadeep and Mouma lost 9-11, 11-8, 3-11 and 10-12 to the Singaporean duo of Ning Gao and Xue Ling Zhang.
Soumyadeep and Mouma raced to an early lead in the first game but frittered it away to lose 9-11.
The second game followed the same script but with a different ending as the Indian duo never relaxed their grip and clinched it to draw parity.
In the third game, the Indians lodged objection to Gao's white wristband and the latter was asked to tape it over.
That probably got the goat of their opponents and the pair from Singapore wrapped up the third game without much problem.
Trailing again, Soumyadeep and Mouma went all out in the game and held their rivals 10-10 before losing the plot, game and eventually the match.
In the other mixed doubles matches featuring an Indian pair, Korean pair of Lee Jung Woo and Lee Eun Hee were expecetd to steamroll Sharath Kamal and Poulomi but the Indians had other ideas.
They made life difficult for their illustrious opponents, showed tremendous resolve and didn't concede a single point without fight.
But the nimble-footed Lee-Lee pair unleashed lightning-fast strokes at crucial points and chalked out a straight game win.
Though the scoreline read 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 in the Koreans' favour, it hardly reflects the level of competition; they had to toil hard in the middle to get the better of their Indian opponents.