Harmeet Desai, G Sathiyan, Anthony Amalraj in India Open table tennis main draw
Harmeet Desai, Gnanasekaran Sathiyan and Anthony Amalraj entered the main draw of the 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open table tennis tournament with emphatic victories in their final qualification matchesother sports Updated: Feb 15, 2017 22:51 IST
Indian youngsters Harmeet Desai and Gnanasekaran Sathiyan rode into the main draw of the 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open table tennis tournament with emphatic victories in their final qualification matches at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex on Wednesday.
The experienced Anthony Amalraj also entered the main draw of the $150,000 tournament, outsmarting Chinese Taipei’s Tzu-Hsiang Hung in a four-game duel. They will join fellow Indians Achanta Sharath Kamal, Soumyajit Ghosh and Sanil Shetty in the main draw. Sharath Kamal, as World No.62, had got a direct entry into the main draw.
The 19-year-old Sreeja Akula also created a flutter among the sparse crowd in the stands by defeating World No.171 Lin Po-Hsuan of Taiwan to become the first Indian to make it to the semifinals in the U-21 women’s singles competition.
The Hyderabadi player, ranked World No.322, won 11-7, 6-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-9 for one of the biggest wins in her career. Sadly, Sreeja couldn’t continue the momentum in the battle for a place in the final later in the evening. She put up a strong fight against Wai Yam Soo of Hong Kong, even enjoying a game point in the crucial second game. But she couldn’t convert it and ended up losing 2-11, 11-13, 7-11.
India had two more players in the fray, after finishing second in their respective groups. But, both, Manav Thakkar and Sudhanshu Grover failed to drive home the advantage of home support.
The Japanese duo of Asuka Sakai and Sakura Mori were crowned champions in the under-21 men’s and women’s categories, respectively. Asuka beat Siu Hang Lam of Hong Kong 3-2, while Sakura beat Wi Yam Minnie Soo of Hong Kong 3-2 to take home the women’s trophy.
Earlier, in the semifinal, the Japanese world junior champion Tomokazu Harimoto suffered an upset at the hands of Siu Hang Lam from Hong Kong in the men’s singles under-21 group. In a battle of wits, the Japanese teen sensation lost 6-11, 11-3, 18-16, 9-11, 9-11.
After losing his semifinal encounter, Harimoto was so disappointed that he was reluctant to speak on what went wrong in the match that lasted 50 minutes.
“I don’t want to say anything because I am sad,” the Japanese said with the help of an interpreter.
In December, Harimoto became the youngest ever to win the World junior title by defeating Korea’s Cho Seungmin 4-3 in Cape Town, South Africa. He was then 13 years and 163 days old.