by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Sanil Shetty, 27 year old, brought the day to a conclusion by overcoming Patrick Baum, the no.15 seed, in six games (11-7, 11-4, 7-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8), after 23 year old Harmeet Desai had staved off a brave recovery to beat Tristan Flore of France, the no.16 seed (11-4, 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6).
Two wins against the odds for India, there was nearly another; Soumyajit Ghosh came mightily close to causing the defeat of a second German. He extended Ricardo Walther, the no.12 seed, the full seven games distance (11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 8-11, 3-11, 11-6, 11-6).
A narrow defeat for the host nation but overall Indian supporters could be satisfied with the efforts of their player; the icing on the cake being the win recorded by Sharath Kamal Achanta, the no.11 seed and the country’s leading player.
Impressively, he overcame a most dangerous opponent in the guise of Frenchman, Can Akkuzu, in five games (11-5, 11-8, 11-4, 8-11, 11-4). Notably, Can Akkuzu had completed the qualification tournament without surrendering a single game; he was a man in form. Sharath Kamal Achanta was a man with a mission.
Meanwhile, for the one further Indian player on first round Men’s Singles duty, it was defeat. Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.3 seed ended the hopes of India’s Amalraj Anthony (11-4, 11-5, 15-13, 11-4).