by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Quarter-final places at stake in the Men’s Doubles event on the early afternoon of Thursday 13th April, India suffered similar fates.
Sanil Shetty and Sharath Kamal Achanta threatened to cause a major upset; in the vital fifth and deciding game against Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting, they led 7-3, only to lose the next six points and eventually suffer defeat (11-5, 7-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9).
“Our focus was not so good at the beginning of the fifth game; I think they became anxious and they started to make mistakes”, Wong Chun Ting
“In the first half of the fifth game they played very well but they became nervous towards the end.” Ho Kwan Kit
Chances missed, alas for India it was very much the same for Soumyajit Ghosh and Harmeet Desai; the one major difference being that they did experience an upset. The no.8 seeds, they were beaten by Singapore’s Gao Ning and Pang Xue Jie; after losing the opening two games they fought back to level. It appeared they had the momentum; it was to prove the reverse, defeat was the outcome ((11-6, 11-9, 10-12, 6-11, 11-6).
“In the first game I received from Harmeet, he uses the pendulum serve and I felt confident receiving; that gave us an advantage. They were not aggressive, they are both good with control and blocking play but in doubles I think that is difficult; the second game we were down 5-9 and came back to win, so that gave us confidence. In the fifth game, as in the first game I received from Harmeet, I was comfortable returning his serves, we played long and deep, at the change of ends we led 5-2; that gave us a distinct advantage.” Pang Xuejie
“I found it difficult returning Harmeet’s service; it wasn’t until the second half of the fifth game that I was able to adjust.” Gao Ning
Defeat at the hands of a partnership involving Gao Ning; seeding indicated it was a surprise reverse but Gao Ning with a left handed partner has enjoyed success at the Asian Championships. In 2012 in Macao he won the Men’s Doubles title in partnership with Yang Zi before in 2013 in Busan, again with Yang Zi being the runner up. Yang Zi like Pang Xue Jie is left handed.
One surprise but there were no surprises where the names of the top two pairs were in question.
In addition to Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting; China’s Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyang, the top seeds, beat Vietnam’s Dinh Quang Linh and Nguyen Anh Tu (11-1, 11-8, 12-10), whilst compatriots Fang Bo and Zhou Yu, the no.2 seeds, also ended Vietnamese hopes. They beat Doan Ba Tuan Anh and Nguyen Duc Tuan (11-5, 11-3, 11-5).
Meanwhile, not to be left out; Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura and Koki Niwa, the no.4 seeds, ended the hopes of Uzbekistan’s Zokhid Kenjaev and Gennardiy Levchenko (11-7, 11-5, 11-6.
The quarter-final matches will be played on Friday 14th April.