Indore, January 27: Fractions are a very important part of math and match. This is what the two Indians, first Archana Girish Kamath and then Ronit Bhanja, must have learnt the hard way from third round matches on the penultimate day of the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals at the Abhay Prashal here today.
Archana and Ronit were sitting pretty with two wins each yesterday with the third round match to be played today. But when Archana lost 0-4 (7-11, 6-11, 6-11, 4-11) to Amy Wang of USA, a three-way time saw Archana, Amy and Hong Kong’s Tze Wing Mak, who lost her opening match to Archana yesterday, keeping their fingers crossed. Ultimately, the Indian was edged out by 0.66 points! Needless to say, Mak thumped her Portugal rival Raquel Andrade 4-0 in the morning to improve her chances.
And Ronit, who lost to Japanese Yukiya Uda 2-4 (5-11, 5-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 10-12) this morning, faced a similar situation but was lucky to move in with the fractions working in his favour. In the bargain, he pushed the Japanese out by a fraction of 0.02 points to join Hsin-Yang Li of Taipei in the quarters.
Luckily, Manav Thakkar kept his date with destiny and beat his rival from the USA, Victor Liu 4-2. But the win did not come as easy as one thought. After a comfortable 2-0 lead, the Indian struggled against the American who played brilliantly to keep Manav on a tight leash. In fact, he looked like going 3-2 up but the Indian thwarted him after several deuces to win the fifth game 16-14. This helped Manav gain confidence and win 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 12-14, 16-14, 11-5 to earn a quarterfinal berth.
Selenadeepthi Selvakumar went through the formality of completing the third round match and went down to Kana Takeuchi of Japan 2-11, 2-11, 2-11, 7-11.
The quarterfinals, slated for this afternoon, will be as much crucial for the two Indian boys in fray as it will be the Romanian, Japanese, Hong Kong and USA players.