19 Jan 2017

India will have a pairing in the quarter-finals of the Men's Doubles competition at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open after Sharath Kamal Achanta and his partner Sanil Shetty came through a tough Round of 16 tie against the fourth seeds Antoine Hachard and Stéphane Ouaiche on Thursday 19th January.

by Simon Daish

Sharath Kamal Achanta and Sanil Shetty very nearly didn’t reach the main event, having to negotiate hard fought out qualifying matches before securing their spot in the Round of 16. Now the Indian partnership’s campaign in Budapest will continue further into the tournament, after Achanta and Shetty condemned the no.4 seeds Antoine Hachard and Stéphane Ouaiche to an early exit.

Hachard and Ouaiche didn’t get off to the best of starts in the tie after they dropped the opening two games to their opponents from India, but a glimmer of hope appeared for the French duo when they managed to pull a game back with the capture of the third end.

However, Achanta and Shetty held firm and before long were able to bring the tie to a close to set up a meeting with no.6 seeds Germany’s Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther in the next round.

“Yesterday we got used the each other’s movement again as we had not played together for the past two years so it took a few matches. Good start for us in the main draw we played with an aggressive style and did not waste many points. Next round we want to play just as positive”, Sharath Kamal Achanta.

The much anticipated doubles partnership comprising two of Africa’s strongest players will not be making an appearance in the quarter-finals of the Men’s Doubles event: Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna and Egypt’s Omar Assar suffered a straight games defeat to Fang Bo and Zhou Yu.

Aruna and Assar took the fight to the fifth seeds from China in the opening game,with only a three point margin separating the two partnerships. The following two games, however, proved no trouble at all for Fang and Zhou and in the end the Chinese combination stormed to a comfortable 3-0 win (11-8, 11-2, 11-3).

Hungarian fans were given plenty to cheer about in the Round of 16 after the host nation’s Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi stood victorious over Singapore’s Chew Zhe Yu Clarence and Gao Ning (9-11, 11-3, 11-4, 10-12, 11-4). Following the match, the no.8 seeds put their success down to a good approach in tactics:

“It was a very tough first round but we managed to play well and secure our place in the next round. Zoltan Batorfi (coach) gave us the right tactics and when we executed them then the game became simple…”, was the reaction of the triumphant Hungarian pairing.

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