| Chetan Baboor serves against Chriss Ndzoli Eyoka of Congo in Paris Monday. (AFP)
New Delhi: Indian paddlers put up an impressive performance on the opening day of the world table tennis championships in Paris, with three of the five players in action comfortably winning their preliminary group matches.
Top Indian men’s player Chetan Baboor had no problems in overcoming his lesser-known opponent Chriss Ndzoli Eyoka of Congo in straight games 11-3, 11-5, 11-8, 11-3 on Monday.
In other matches, Sharath Kamal thrashed Tahiti’s Sylvain Motahu 11-3, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7 while in the women’s section Mouma Das defeated Elmira Aliyeva of Kazakhstan 11-2, 11-6, 11-3, 11-5, according to information received here.
But the other two Indians in the women’s section — Mamta Prabhu and Pradeepa Thiruengadam — went down fighting to higher ranked opponents.
Mamta gave a superb fight to Pia Finnemann of Denmark before losing 11-6, 7-11, 6-11, 11-8, 9-11, 7-11 while Judit Herczig of Austria got the better of Pradeepa, winning a tough battle 11-5, 6-11, 11-8, 12-10, 10-12, 11-8.
In mixed doubles, Sourav Chakraborty and Mouma reached the third round before losing to Tomas Konechy and Katerina Penkavova of the Czech Republic 5-11, 6-11, 4-11.
Earlier, the duo defeated Enio Mendes and Vanu Carvalho of Portugal 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 and prevailed over Juan Acosta and Elina Gonzalez of Peru 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6 in the second round.
Another mixed doubles pair of Kamal and Pradeepa went down to the Sri Lankan team of Indika Silva and Deepika Rodrigo 11-8, 10-12, 8-11, 11-9, 8-11.
The men’s doubles team of Baboor and Kamal thrashed the Puerto Rican team of Santoago Coste and Hector Berrios 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-4.
However, the women’s pair of Pradeepa and Prabhu were no match for the Swedish duo of Carina Jonsson and Susanna Nilsson. The Indians went down in straight games, 5-11, 6-11, 5-11.
China ready for kill
China issued a grim warning Tuesday to all those who are out to spoil their party.
China made a clean sweep of seven gold medals at the last two world championships in Osaka and Eindhoven, and were prevented from a similar feat in Manchester in 1997 by Swede Jan-Ove Waldner.
However, seven golds will be out of their reach with the team competition being held apart for the first time, in Qatar, next year.
Hen Hua, one of the managers masterminding the Chinese assault on the 2003 championships said: “Winning everything again is certainly possible, we’re very well prepared.
“We’ve spent the last two months at a special training camp back home, and all the players are in good shape.”
Hua, however, felt that the biggest obstacle will come in the men’s singles event in the form of Thomas Boll of Germany and Vladamir Samsonov of Belarus.
Hua also suggested that the new 11-point rule will make things tough for the Chinese.
“A player not getting off to a quick start could find himself in trouble. It could also count against a player if he is having an off day.”