by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Unbeaten on the opening day of play, Sharath Kamal Achanta, who is presently named at no.45 on the Men’s World Rankings, was beaten by Can Akkuzu, listed at no.115. Most impressively, the 20 year old Frenchman emerged successful in four straight games (11-8, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7) to secure first place in the group.
Disappointment for Sharath Kamal Achanta, it was better news for Soumyajit Ghosh, named at no.93 in the current listings and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran who stands at no.87.
Similar to Sharath Kamal Achanta, unbeaten on the opening day of play, Soumyajit Ghosh continued his good form. He balanced the books with France by beating Quentin Robinot in a most impressive manner (11-4, 11-6, 11-8, 12-10), in a much closer contest, decided by the minimal two point margin in the deciding game, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran ended the hopes of Romania’s Ovidu Ionescu (13-11, 8-11, 11-8, 3-11, 3-11, 11-8, 14-12).
Presently on the Men’s World Rankings, Quentin Robinot is at no.64, Ovidiu Ionescu at no.68.
Notable performances from Indian players and there was one more that caught the eye; Harmeet Desai, presently named at no.90 on the Men’s World Rankings came so close to causing and upset. He extended Spain’s Alvaro Robles the full seven games distance (11-7, 9-11, 4-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-4, 11-7) in the contest to determine first place.
Disappointment for Harmeet Desain but not for the leading names on qualification tournament duty; Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Sweden Kristian Karlsson alongside the host nation’s Ruwen Filus all finished in first places in their respective groups.
Preliminary rounds now follow; players finishing in first places in group no.19 to group no.49 compete in the first round, the winners meet the players from group no.1 to group no.18 who finished the initial stage in first places.