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Asian Cup: Giant-killer Sharath sizzles into qtrs

India's top table tennis player Sharath Kamal shocked world no. 8 and world no. 16 to storm into the Asian Cup quarterfinals here on Friday in what turned out to be "one of the biggest days" of his path-breaking career.

Placed in a tough Group B, 49th-ranked Sharath defied the odds to overpower Chinese Taipei's Chuang Chih-Yuan 11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3 before clinching a thrilling decider against 16th-ranked Joo Saehyuk at the Sawai Mansingh Indoor Stadium.

"It has to be one of the biggest days of (my) career. To beat these world class players in a matter of hours is extremely satisfying. Beating Joo was definitely tougher as he is the best defender around. I really had to dig deep," said a drained out Sharath, who made the last-eight stage of the premier continental event for the second year in a row.

The 32-year-old plays world no.3 Fan Zhendong later on Friday to decide the winner of Group B. In another major upset of the day, 12th-ranked Koki Nawa of Japan outplayed world no.2 Xu Xin 11-6, 2-11, 11-5, 12-10 in Group A.

The day, however, belonged well and truly to Sharath. He had to dig out all his reserves in the battle of attrition against defender Saehyuk after overpowering Chuang earlier.

M Post Bureau

M Post Bureau

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