Indian paddlers’ campaign comes to an end at Qatar Open

The nation’s last remaining hopes in Anthony Amalraj and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran did not materialize as both exited on the day.

By Rahul Venkat ·

It was a far from ideal day for Indian table tennis fans as Anthony Amalraj and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran lost in the men’s doubles before the former also fell in the singles at the Qatar Open on Thursday.

Having made it to the main draw of the men’s doubles with a breezy straight games victory on Wednesday, Anthony Amalraj and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran were given a taste of their own medicine by the Hong Kong duo of Ho Kwan Kit and Chun Ting Wong in their round of 16 encounter.

The Indian table tennis duo matched their opponents shot-for-shot in the first game, which they narrowly ended up losing 9-11, but thereafter it was a one-way show. The serves were not as productive nor were the returns.

Anthony Amalraj and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran seemed to run out of ideas on how to counter their rivals’ dominance, unable to overcome a points deficit at any juncture during the match, and ended up losing the tie 9-11, 3-11, 4-11 in just over 14 minutes.

It was a good result for Ho Kwan Kit and Chun Ting Wong, who avenged their five-game defeat in the Hungarian Open semi-finals to Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, who had won the silver with Achanta Sharath Kamal at that tournament.

The Hong Kong pair will next face Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda of Japan in the Qatar Open quarter-finals on Friday after the latter got past Can Akkuzu and Alexandre Cassin.

Anthony Amalraj was the final Indian to fall at the Qatar Open. Photo: ITTF

Anthony Amalraj halted in the singles

Anthony Amalraj was the only Indian table tennis player, among either the men or women, to make it to the singles main draw at the Qatar Open but he could not progress past the round of 32, falling 10-12, 4-11, 4-11, 6-11 to world no.7 Hugo Calderano.

The Indian table tennis ace did not let the demoralizing defeat earlier in the day affect him as he came back from a 5-8 deficit in the first game to get level on points with his Brazilian opponent and only gave it up after a tough fight.

However, that momentum did not last long for Anthony Amalraj as he swiftly came undone in the other three games to give Calderano a slot in the pre-quarters, where he will face Frenchman Simon Gauzy.