Glasgow: The Indian women`s table tennis team blanked New Zealand, a side full of Chinese-origin players, to march into the semifinals of the Commonwealth Games at the Scotstoun Sports Campus here on Saturday.
Shamini Kumaresan starred in India`s 3-0 win over New Zealand. They face Singapore, whom they lost to at Delhi Games to settle for silver, in the semifinals later on Saturday.
The ploy to play Shamini in the first singles against 52-year-old Chun Li worked. The Indian played a solid match to beat 2002 singles Commonwealth Games champion and five-time Olympian 5-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5.
Delhi girl Manika Batra, who plays with a pimpled rubber, outsmarted Chunl Li`s sister Karen 11-13, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 to give India a 2-0 cushion.
In the doubles rubber, being played in the team competition for the first time at Games, Shamini and Madhurika Patkar outplayed Karen and Yang Sun 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 for India`s well deserved victory.
"The match was much tougher than what the scoreline suggests. The New Zealand team is full of Chinese and we had a hard time beating them in Delhi four years ago," coach Bhawani Mukherjee told PTI referring to India`s 3-2 win over New Zealand in the Delhi edition.
"We made the decision to field Shamini against Chun Li and it worked out well. The other girls also did their job," said Mukherjee.
It will be an achievement for India to take a match off the mighty Singaporeans while Malaysia take on Australia in the other semifinal.
The losing semifinalists battle for the bronze tomorrow.
"It is unfortunate that we are up against Singapore but it is the way it is. I think Shamini is the only one who looks capable of creating an upset," added Mukherjee.
The Indian men led by Sharath Kamal meet Scotland in the quarterfinals.