New Delhi, February 15: India's Soumyajit Ghosh and Sanil Shetty have entered the main draw of the ITTF World Tour India Open tournament. On the opening day of the event in New Delhi on Tuesday, Soumyajit defeated Saudi Arabia’s Ali Alkhadrawi by 4-3.
Soumyajit, a double Olympian and one of Indias leading players alongside Sharath Kamal, had to dig deep to quell a strong challenge from Saudi Arabia's Ali Alkhadrawi 4-3. He began slowly, trailing 6-11, 9-11 before he got into his groove.
Soumyajit won the third game 11-6 but lost the next 12-14 to be looking at the prospect of an unexpected upset. But he started attacking the left-handed Alkhadrawis body more to rattle him. By then, Soumyajit was in his elements, putting up a solid defensive game while going for the kill at every conceivable opportunity. He won the crucial last three games 11-5, 11-6 and 11-8 and let out a delighted scream when he finally wrapped up the match.
Soumyajit earlier won his opening match in the morning, beating his compatriot Jeet Chandra 4-0, to seal his place in the main draw.
Sanil Shetty also got off to a flying start in the morning, trouncing Ronit Bhanja in straight games. In his second match, he defeated Lubomir Jancark of Czech Republic.
It proved to be a fascinating contest between two equals, with both valiantly battling for every point. Sanil was always behind in the game, losing the first third, and the fifth games. Each time he restored parity but in the decider to he quickly fell behind. He, however, kept fighting and saved 3 match points to finally go up 15-14 for his first chance. A forehand drive gave him the win over his opponent.
He beat Arjun Ghosh 4-1 in the morning to stand a chance of still making it as a second placed finisher, assuming that Geraldo will win his game against Arjun Ghosh on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles action, recently crowned national champion Madhurika Patkar started off well by beating compatriot Krritwika Roy 4-1 to take the early lead in Group 1. She, however, lost to Suthirtha Mukherjee later in the day which might not help her reach the main draw.
Archana Kamath and Priyanka Pareek won both their qualifying matches to give themselves the opportunity of facing a lower ranked player in the tournament proper.