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Indians keep the faith, enter main draw

Table Tennis

Surat : All the four Indian men and women paddlers, who went through the qualification process, moved into the singles main draw of the 20th Avadh Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships at the Pandit Dindayal Upadhyay Indoor Stadium here today.

But their further happiness depends on the advancement they make as they could to run into some of the better and seeded players in the run-up to the medal rounds.

Even among the men’s qualifiers, there a few lucky ones who have received first-round byes. For instance, both the left-handed Sanil Shetty and Sudhanshu Grover have been accorded this largesse, thanks to their higher rankings.

In the top-half of men’s draw, Abhishek Yadav runs into top-seed Li Hu of Singapore in the pre-quarters while Anthony Amalraj will meet England’s David McBeath, who poses some troubles to the hosts in team event.

Shetty was lucky enough to get the best possible draw as he will meet Singapore’s weak link in team event, Chew Zhe Yu Clerence in the last 16 and is expected to go through to the quarterfinals. Harmeet Desai may run into Helsan Weerasinghe in the pre-quarters.

As for the bottom half, second seeded Somyajit Ghosh is expected to go through to the medal round without a hitch, but G. Sathiyan could meet Singapore’s sixth-seeded Chen Feng in the last eight stages. Unseeded Devesh Karia has to go past Chen if he nourishes any chance of upsetting Sathiyan in the quarters to enter the semifinals. Sudhanshu Grover is expected to move into the quarterfinals but he will run into compatriot Ghosh there.

Simialrly, it was a pleasant result for the hosts to see all four Indian women qualifiers entering the second stage. However, it remains to be seen how many out of the eight Indian eves, including those four who were given direct entries in the main draw, survives to go through to the medal round.

One look at the draw can put things in perspective. There are two Indians practically in every quarter and that produces a clearer picture, reducing their rate of survival by every match. The match between K. Shamini and Louiza Kourea of Cyprus could be tricky but Manika Batra should easily overcome Sri Lankan Erandi Warusawithana and enter the pre-quarterfinals from the top half. Similarly, Mouma Das and Ankita, from the bottom half, have better chance than Pooja Sahasrabuddhe.

In other words, Madhurika Patkar and Krittiwika Sinha Roy crossing the first hurdle is completely ruled out as they are drawn to meet top two seeds in the first round of the championships. Even Divya Deshpandey will find it difficult to go past Ho Tin-Tin, a difficult customer.

Of all the Indian women, unranked Divya Deshpande has had two tough matches—first against Singapore’s Yee Herng Hwee, who is ranked 379 in the world, and Ruvini Kannangara of Sri Lanka—and came out unscathed in two five-setters. In the first round, Madhurika Patkar, also unranked, downed Sri Lanka’s Isara Madurangi, ranked 434 in the world, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8. Both Devesh Karia and Abhishek Yadav had at least one round of difficult matches but they overcame to enter the main draw. Abhishek beat Kut Lingeveldt of South Africa 11-8, 12-10, 4-11, 11-6 in the first round while Devesh outsmarted Ryan Jenkins of Wales 11-5, 4-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9 in the second. But of these, all other had a very smooth passage.

All Indian Results:

Men: First Round: Sanil Shetty bt Jordan Wykes (JEY) 11-6, 11-2, 11-5, Sudhanshu Grover bt Hugo Tupper (JEY) 11-4, 11-5, 11-5, Devesh Karia bt Josh Alexandre (NZ) 11-2, 11-1, 11-2, Abhishek Yadav bt Kurt Lingeveldt (RSA) 11-8, 12-10, 4-11, 11-6; 2nd  round: Devesh Karia bt Ryan Jenkins (WAL) 11-5, 4-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, Abhishek Yadav bt Cutis Humphreys (TTO) 13-11, 11-2, 7-11, 11-2; 3rd  round: Sanil Shetty bt Arun Roopnarine (TTO)11-6, 11-3, 11-4, Sudhanshu Grover bt Hristo Hristonov (CYP) 11-6, 11-9, 10-12, 11-4, Devesh Karia bt Aaron Wilson (TTO) 11-6, 12-10, 11-8, Abhishek Yadav bt Tom Jarvis (ENG) 4-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7.

Women: First Round: Pooja Sahasrabuddhle bt Linda Partap (TTO) 11-2, 11-4, 11-3, Krittwika Sinha Roy bt Ashley Givan (IRL) 11-6, 11-6, 4-11, 9-11, 12-10, Divya Deshpandey bt Yee Herng Hwee (SIN) 11-8, 11-5, 11-7, Madhurika Patkar bt Isara Madurangi (SRI) 11-7, 11-7, 11-8; 2nd  round: Divya Deshpande bt Zodwa (RSA) 11-6, 11-9, 11-9, Madhurika Patkar bt Koh Kai Xin Pearlyn (SIN) 11-5, 11-9, 11-3, Krittwika Sinha Roy bt Khanyisile Madlala (RSA) 11-9, 11-3, 11-4; 3rd  round: Pooja Sahasrabudhe bt Caitlin Lingeveldt 11-7, 11-7, 11-1, Divya Deshpande b Ruvini Kannangara (SRI) 9-11, 13-15, 11-4, 11-6, 11-3, Madhurika Patkar bt Allena Edwards (TTO) 11-2, 11-3, 11-3, Krittiwika Sinha Roy bt Alexia Christodoulou (CYP) 11-5, 11-5, 11-4.

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