Top seed Dimitrij Ovtcharov breezed into the quarterfinals of the ITTF World Tour India Open table tennis tournament on a day that saw a number of Indians exit the competition.
The World No. 5 from Germany won both his matches emphatically at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex to underline his class and pedigree.
However, it was a disappointment for the home team as seven Indians, in fray for a place in the quarterfinals, crashed out.
Among them was 112th ranked Harmeet Desai, who flattered to deceive against 19th ranked Koki Niwa of Japan. He had his moments in the match but was not consistent enough to trouble the Japanese.
Desai had beaten higher-ranked Tristan Flore of France in the opening round yesterday.
Gnanasekaran Sathiyan, who played his first round today, put up a brave fight before losing to ninth seeded Masataka Morizono of Japan in a seven-game affair.
India’s best bet Sharath Kamal will play his pre-quarterfinal match against world number 24 Yuro Muramatsu of Japan later today and so will Sanil Shetty, who will face 43rd ranked Robert Gardos of Austria.
In the women’s singles, young Archana Kamath, who earlier in the day beat compatriot Ayhika Mukherjee 4-2 to qualify for the pre-quarters, too pushed sixth seeded Sakura Mori of Japan to the hilt before crashing out.
Archana displayed great skill and determination and a strong offensive game as well, but ran out of ideas against her more experienced opponent.
Japan’s 14-year-old sensation Harimoto Tomokazu continued his good run in the tournament, staving off a strong challenge from his compatriot Asuka Sakai and breaking into the quarterfinals. Harimoto, the current junior world champion, came out attacking and claimed the first two games 11-9 11-9.
Asuka, who was crowned the Under-21 champion just two days back, showed his mettle to make a strong comeback in the third game. Harimoto won the next one 11-7 but lost the momentum in the fifth, losing 11-13 in an intense duel.
Harimoto, however, was back in his elements in the sixth, attacking and screaming his way to a comfortable 11-7 triumph.
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