by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Amalraj Anthony made the better start to the contest, he won the opening game but then after losing a close second, the momentum swung towards his adversary.
Undoubtedly the second game was crucial, equally the fourth was vital; had either of those games turned in the opposite direction, the outcome may well have been very different.
Notably when trailing 8-9 in the fourth, Amalraj Anthony elected for “Time Out”; he won the next point but was unable to take advantage of the situation. Focused, to his credit, he won the fifth game being the more consistent player but in the sixth Soumyajit Ghosh emerged all guns blazing.
Attacking quickly from the backhand, staying close to the table; he won the opening four points. Amalraj Anthony secured the next two; serving it appeared that Soumyajit Ghosh won the next point or was it a let service?
The matter was quickly resolved; in the true spirit of sport, Soumyajit Ghosh advised the umpire that the ball had hit his shirt and the point should be awarded to Amalraj Anthony. Correctly the score stood at 4-3; Soumyajit Ghosh still had the advantage but it was a very slender lead.
Determined Amalraj Anthony recovered, he levelled at 7-all but he was to enjoy no further success; the next four points went to Soumyajit Ghosh, the title was secured.
“I had to start the sixth game aggressively, I kept thinking I could my first big international title; it was hard to win playing against Amalraj. It took some time to adapt to the ball, it’s harder than the one we used before; it’s good quality, it enables more power but less spin.” Soumyajit Ghosh
Success for Soumyajit Ghosh means that he becomes the third player from India to win a Men’s Singles title at an ITTF Challenge Series or ITTF World Tour tournament; Amalraj Anthony becomes the fourth to reach such a final.
Sharath Kamal Achanta was the runner up in 2007 on home soil in New Delhi, losing to Singapore’s Gao Ning in the final; three years later he won in Egypt overcoming Hong Kong’s Li Ching in the title deciding.
“Now I’m the third to win such a tournament; I’m really happy but here being the top seed I felt under pressure. If I lost I lost everything, if I won I just gained a little. Day by day I felt better, I just tried to play my game but it was really hard.” Soumyajit Ghosh
More recently Sathiyan Gnanasekaran struck gold in de Haan. At the 2016 ITTF World Tour Belgian Open, he beat the host nation’s Cédric Nuythinck to claim the top prize.
Now some seven months after the efforts of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, it is gold for Soumyajit Ghosh; success against Amalraj Anthony, success against a colleague, a landmark for India.