The 2012 national champion Anthony Amalraj was stretched in the Round of 64 match against Soumyadeep Sarkar of West Bengal.
Back from a COVID-19 bout, former national champion Anthony Amalraj had to dig deep for his opening-round win at the 82nd Senior National Table Tennis Championships on Sunday.
Up against West Bengal’s Soumyadeep Sarkar, the 35-year-old Anthony Amalraj registered a 4-3 win to keep his campaign alive at the Tau Devi Lal Indoor Stadium in Panchkula.
A national champion in 2012, Anthony Amalraj -- who recovered from COVID early last November -- was hesitant to commit into attacks and gave his opponent enough time to measure his returns.
Though the Tamil Nadu player took the opening game 12-10 he was soon made to pay for his cautious approach as Soumyadeep Sarkar showed no mercy to race to a 2-1 lead in the match.
The ninth seed Anthony Amalraj, however, backed himself and grew into the match with time and was soon leading 3-2. He, however, lacked the killer instinct and allowed Soumyadeep Sarkar a way back, pushing the match into a decider.
In the seventh game, though Soumyadeep Sarkar started and established an early lead, Anthony Amalraj levelled at 7-7 and was soon serving for the match at 10-9.
But the Indian international couldn’t close the match in his first attempt and was dragged for a while before winning the tie 12-10, 7-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 14-12.
Earlier, 10th seed Jeet Chandra was the only seeded player to bow out of the Round of 64 at the Senior Nationals. Facing the former sub-junior national champion Preyesh Raj Suresh, the Haryana player went down 2-4.
The left-handed Preyesh Raj Suresh was on top of his game as he kept his opponent guessing with some smart service variations and was quick returns that barely allowed the higher-ranked Jeet Chandra any time to work his way out in what was 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9 win of the youngster.
Meanwhile, top seed Achanta Sharath Kamal faced no problems to seal his place in the Round of 32 with a comfortable 4-0 win over Abinay Vijay Babu of Tamil Nadu. Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, however, dropped a game in his win over Mizoram’s Jeho Himnakulhpuingheta.