Indian table tennis player Sharath Kamal, on Monday, advanced to the third round of the men’s singles event by beating Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia 4-2 in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The match that lasted 49 minutes saw the Indian lose the opening game 2-11 in an abysmal manner in just four minutes. However, he upped the ante and took the next two games 11-8, and 11-5 in seven minutes (both games), respectively. By virtue of these wins, he took a 2-1 lead in the match.

His Portuguese opponent wasn’t giving in and pushed him to the edge in the fourth game and won 11-9 in nine minutes.

The Indian maintained his composure as he entered game 5 and it took him 8 minutes to register an 11-6 win over his Portuguese opponent. In game 6, India’s Sharath Kamal, in a closely-fought, match won the game 11-9 in nine minutes.

The Indian paddler now has a tough match ahead as he takes on the legendary Long, who is also the reigning world champion.

Considered one of the greatest players of all time, Long has won every singles title in the sport.

Sharath’s compatriot G Sathiyan had lost his men’s singles second round from an advantageous position on Sunday to exit the competition.

In the women’s draw, Manika Batra moved to the third round with an upset win over world number 32 Margaryta Pesotska of Ukraine on Sunday.

On the opening day of the Olympics, the mixed pair of Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra lost to third seeds Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching of Chinese Taipei in round of 16 on Saturday.

The Indians had to make all chances count against a superior opponent but they couldn’t do so after leading 5-1 and 5-3 in the first two games. In the end, it was a comfortable 11-8, 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 win for the Chinese Taipei pairing.

“We should have won the first game from 5-1 and build pressure on them. You need to do that against a high quality team. Lin is one of the best players and he showed,” Sharath told PTI.