Ghosh and Shetty pushed; Archana impresses

NEW DELHI: FEb 15,
Soumyajit Ghosh and Sanil Shetty, both former National champions, needed the go the distance to prove their superiority against overseas challengers after young Archana Kamath gave more evidence of her growing prowess in the qualifying phase of the $150,000 ITTF World Tour India Open table tennis tournament here.
Ghosh, the qualification league Group 2 favourite, ran into a determined Ali Alkhadrawi and trailed 1-3 in the best-of-seven-game encounter. But credit to the India No. 2 for getting his act together when it mattered.
He eventually came out unscathed with a 6-11, 9-11, 11-6, 12-14, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 triumph. In the last three games, Ghosh raised the bar and reached the finish line without being threatened.
Having beaten Jeet Chandra earlier, Ghosh topped the three-player group and ensured his place in the main draw.
Shetty also took a similar, circuitous route to the main draw. After scoring over young Ronit Bhanja in the three-player Group 3, the left-hander fought back from the brink of defeat against Czech Republic’s Lubomir Jancarik 12-14, 12-10, 8-11, 11-4, 8-11, 121-10, 16-14 in the match of the day.
G. Sathiyan also won two matches to move into the main draw while Harmeet Desai was one victory away from making the grade.
A. Amalraj, who lost to Frenchman Quentin Robinot 3-4 after leading 3-2, will have to win the single-round knock-out round involving the runner-up of each of the 10 groups to qualify.
Among the women, Sutirtha Mukherjee upstaged newly-crowned National champion Madhurika Patkar.
With all 12 Indians assured of making the main draw, the only point of interest in the qualifying phase is the result of the individual encounters.
Young Archana was the star of the day when she moved into the quarterfinals of the under-21 section by beating Moumita Dutta 3-0 and then returned to open her campaign in the women’s qualifying rounds.
The Karnataka youngster stunned Mosumi Paul, one among the leading performers of the season 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8, and went on to top Group 2 by easily stopping C. Harsha Vardhini 11-4, 11-8, 11-3, 11-4.

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