by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Arguably it is the best performance of the year for the 30 year old, although at the ITTF-Asia Olympic Games Qualification Tournament he did beat colleague, Sharath Kamal Achanta but on the ITTF World Tour in both Japan and Korea he did not progress beyond the preliminary stage.
“This year I missed a lot of chances at the Korea Open when I lost in seven games to Chiang Hung-Chieh. I lost I felt really bad; now I’m playing better, my mind is clearer. I had difficulties during my match with Taku Takakiwa from Japan, he is second seed in this tournament; he is very good. I had to fight hard. It was not very easy. I had to give my 100 per cent. Today I was very strong mentally, that’s why I could beat him. I was not seeded and he is seeded number two, so to beat a number two you need a good mind. You must be strong. He started very strong; then I managed to adapt.” Amalraj Anthony after beating Taku Takakiwa
Success against the odds for Amalraj Anthony, it was the same for Russia’s Sadi Ismailov; likewise he captured a major scalp.
In fact, he initiated an upset which could well be regarded as the equal of that caused by Amalraj Anthony; the no.30 seed, he beat Kenji Matsudaira, the no.3 seed (14-16, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 10-12, 13-11, 11-8) to add to Japanese pain.
Wins against two of the highest seeded players on show rather overshadowed the splendid performances of Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Frenchman Thomas Le Breton.
Both required to compete in the qualification stage of proceedings, Cristian Pletea accounted for Russia’s Alexey Liventsov, the no.10 seed (11-5, 11-8, 12-10, 11-8), Thomas Le Breton ended the hopes of compatriot, Romain Ruiz, the no.32 seed (14-12, 11-5, 9-11, 11-13, 7-11, 15-13).
End of journey
Continued success for Cristian Pletea and Thomas Le Breton; for the other qualifiers who had excelled expectations to reach round two, it was the end of the journey.
Sweden terminated progress the progress of two adventurers. Hampus Soderlund, the no.15 seed, beat Manav Vikash Thakker, like Amalraj Anthony from India (11-6, 11-7, 11-5, 12-10); Anthony Tran, the no.31 seed, halted the progress of Denmark’s Claus Nielsen (11-8, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7).
Meanwhile, Denmark’s Anders Lind was beaten by Frenchman Adrien Mattenet, the top seed (12-10, 11-7, 6-11, 13-11, 8-11, 11-7); Chinese Taipei’s Tsai Chun-Yu experienced defeat at the hands of Quentin Robinot, the no.8 seed and like Andrien Mattenet from France (11-8, 11-2, 11-6, 11-9).
Wins for Adrien Mattenet and Quentin Robinot, it was the same for three further leading names .
The Czech Republic’s Tomas Konecny, the no.4 seed, beat Chinese Taipei’s Sun Chia-Hung, the no.21 seed (11-9, 11-2, 8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10); Russia’s Mikhail Paikov, the no.7 seed, ousted Enzo Angles of France, the no.26 seed (9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9, 12-10), whilst in yet another duel involving France the verdict went in favour of status.
Antoine Hachard, the no.6 seed, defeated Gregoire Jean, the no.28 seed (11-4, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7).