by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Beaten by the host nation’s Sanil Shetty in a dramatic seven games contest (12-14, 12-10, 8-11, 11-4, 8-11, 12-10, 16-14), success in his concluding group stage contest was vital.
Ten groups in the qualification event, a total of 16 places available via qualification, players finishing in first positions automatically reserved places. Players finishing in second positions in each group competed in a preliminary round with one “Lucky Loser” place being available for a preliminary round loser.
Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al-Abbad gained the “Lucky Loser”, place, being beaten by Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang (11-8, 13-15, 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6).
However, for Lubomir Jancarik, he did not need fortune to smile. He overcame the host nation’s Ronit Bhanja (8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6) to secure second place in the group, before recording a preliminary round win in opposition to Sudhanshu Grover, also from India (11-6, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6).
Defeat for the host nation but there was one success and a success of note; Amalraj Anthony who had finished in second place in his group, faced a most testing adversary in the guise of Chinese Taipei’s Hung Tzu-Hsiang. He had finished in runners up spot in his group behind Amalraj Anthony’s colleague, Harmeet Desai.
Now 22 years old, Hung Tzu-Hsiang, a right handed pen-holder, enjoyed a most successful teenage career; he won five ITTF World Junior Circuit Boys’ Singles titles in addition to succeeding in Puerto Rico in January 2012 at the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals.
Alas, bridging the gap, producing similar results at senior level, is proving a bridge too far; his best to date on the ITTF World Tour being a quarter-final exit at the GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open.
In New Delhi, he found Amalraj Anthony in determined mood; a five games verdict (11-9, 11-7, 11-7, 13-15, 11-8) in favour of the host nation was the end result.
Success in the preliminary round for Amalraj Anthony, additional to Lam Siu Hang and Lubomir Jancarik, Japan’s Asuka Sakai and Frenchman Abdel-Kadar Salifou emerged victorious. Asuka Sakai beat India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar (7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7); Abdel-Kadar Salifou had accounted for Saudi Arabia’s Ali Alkhadrawi (11-6, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7).
Earlier, alongside Quentin Robinot and Harmeet Desai, Portugal’s João Geraldo, Spain’s Alvaro Robles, India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, England’s Sam Walker and Can Akkuzu of France had completed their initial phase matches unbeaten and thus topped their groups.
India’s Soumyajit Ghosh and Sanil Shetty in addition to Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi had secured first places on the opening day of play.