Indore, January 26: Manaav Thakkar, Ronit Bhanja and Archana Girish Kamath took their first baby step forward even as Seleenadeepthi Selvakumar, the fourth Indian in fray, faltered in the first round of their group matches in the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals at the Abhay Prashal here today.
The players from Hong Kong and Japan, most likely finalists in both sections, made inroads even as the Romanians continued their winnings ways to pose some early challenges to the teams from east Asia. With the second round scheduled yet to be played, a clear picture about which of the two players from each of the four Boys and Girls groups will go through to the second stage, which is to be played on a knockout basis, will be known later.
Meanwhile, Manav posted a fantastic 4-0 win over his Australian rival Rohan Dhooria to set the ball rolling. The Indian, seeded seventh, approached his match in a more clinical fashion to shut out the 14th seed. On the other hand, Ronit Bhanja had to extricate himself out of a piquant situation—he led 2-0 but was soon down 2-3—to escape by the skin of his teeth against Taipei’s Li Hsin-Yang, the eighth seeded player.
The Taipei boy was slow to start with but gained momentum once he won the third game even as Ronit was making far too many mistakes to concede points. Li took the next two games and was gaining ascendancy when Ronit pulled the plug to first level the score and then in the decider shut him out with a decent win.
The Indian was down 5-6 but a couple of points separated the two. What brought Ronit in the game was a ‘timely’ timeout by Coach Massimo Costantini at 7-8. Ronit went 9-8 up forcing Li to take his timeout. But undeterred, the 13th seed claimed the next two points without a fuss to register a major win in his career.
As for eighth seed Archana, it was a bit of struggle to begin with but the Indian soon tamed her Portugal opponent Raquel Andrade after winning the first game 15-13, after four deuces and saving two game points. She did lose her third game, but the Indian had controlled the match nicely to beat Raquel.
Selena, however, could not match the guile of Taipei’s Pei-Ling Su, seeded sixth, who pounded her with easy winners. This was despite Selena taking the extended first game at 12-10. Once she hit the groove, Su did not give any liberty to Selena to exploit any of her weaknesses.
Results (Stage 1):
First Round: Group 1: Manav Thakkar bt Rohan Dhooria (Aus) 11-4, 11-2, 11-8, 11-3, Darko Jorgic (Rou) bt Victor Liu (USA) 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7; Group 2: Yukiya Uda (Jpn) bt Yanapong Panagigun (Thai) 11-9, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, Ronit Bhanja bt Li Hsin-Yang (TPE) 11-5, 11-6, 7-11, 4-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8; Group 3: Koyo Kanamitsu (Jpn) bt Mohammed Abdul Wahhab (Qtr) 11-4, 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3, Alexandru Manole (Rou) bt Omar Ammous (Tun) 11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8; Group 4: Tobias Hippler (Ger) bt Rashed Sanad (Bah) 11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-8, Chi-Chien Lai (TPE) bt Nawaf Al-Malki (Qtr) 11-4, 11-9, 11-3, 11-6.
First Round: Group 1: Soo Wai Yam Minnie (HKG) bt Caroline Hajok (Ger) 11-8, 11-2, 11-5, 9-11, 11-4, Sih-Han Fang (TPE) bt Abir Haj Salah (Tun) 6-11, 11-1, 11-9, 11-3, 11-2; Group 2: Tze Wing Mak (HKG) bt Amy Wang (USA) 11-8, 13-11, 11-4, 11-5, Archana G. Kamath bt Raquel Andrade (Por) 15-13, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8; Group 3: Pei-Ling Su (TPE) bt Selenadeepthi Selvakumar 10-12, 11-4, 11-5, 11-2, 11-7, Kana Takeuchi (Jpn) bt Andreea Clapa (Rou) 15-13, 6-11, 6-11, 11-7, 5-11,11-4, 11-4; Group 4: Andreea Dragoman (Rou) bt Martina Kohatsu (Bra) 11-5, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6, Yuko Kato (Jpn) bt Jiamuwa Wu (Aus) 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 12-10.