Amalraj Anthony followed Harmeet Desai and Gnanasekaran Sathiyan to become the latest Indian entrant into the main draw of the ITTF World Tour India Open in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Amalraj took the longer route into the knockout stages of the USD 150,000 tournament, outsmarting Chinese Taipei’s Tzu-Hsiang Hung in a four-game duel.
Harmeet, who made a flying start to his campaign winning both his matches on the opening day of the tournament, beat Tzu-Hsiang Hung of Taipei in straight games to maintain a clean slate in the qualification stages.
Sathiyan, who came into the day on the back of two impressive straight games victory continued from where he left off and dished out another dominating performance to beat Siu Hang Lam of Hong Kong to sail into the Round of 32.
The trio of Harmeet, Sathiyan and Amalraj kept up the good work by joining Soumyajit Ghosh and Sanil Shetty in the main draw of men’s singles. Achanta Sharath Kamal, as World No. 62, had got a direct entry and is expected to enter the courts tomorrow.
19-year-old Sreeja Akula pulled off a significant upset by defeating World No. 171 Chinese Taipei’s Lin Po-Hsuan to become the first Indian to make it to the semifinals in the under-21 women’s singles competition. The Hyderabadi, ranked 322, won 3-2 (11-7, 6-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-9 for one of her biggest wins in her nascent career.
Sreeja, though, couldn’t continue the momentum in the battle for a place in the finals as she lost to Wai Yam Soo of Hong Kong 2-11, 11-13, 7-11 after a brave fight.
For top seeded Joao Geraldo, it was a walk in the park as he defeated India’s Arjun Ghosh 4-1 to qualify for the main draw.
Robinot Quentin of France beat Utkarsh Gupta of India 4-1 to advance into the final draw while Spaniard Robles Alvaro beat Sudhanshu Grover of India 4-0 to qualify. Samuel Walker of England and Azzuku Can of France also made it to the next round after registering wins over India’s Jubin Kumar 4-1 and Subhajit Saha 4-0 respectively.
Manav Thakkar and Sudhanshu Grover failed to drive home the advantage. Manav looked good in the opening game against Japan’s Asuka Sakai, winning it 11-7. But Sakai cleverly pegged him on his backhand, not allowing him to bring his fierce forehand into the contest to take the next four games at 7 each.
Sudhanshu found Lubomir Jancarik of Czech Republic too hot to handled and wilted 6-11, 9-11, 8-11, 6-11.
Earlier, in the men’s under-21 category, Japanese sensation Harimoto Tomokazu eased into the semifinals after he registered an easy 3-0 victory over India’s Birdie Boro. The 14-year-old world junior champion will now go up against Siu Hang Lam in the semifinals.