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Amalraj finishes runner-up, again




New Delhi, May 8: So near and yet it was so far. Anthony Amalraj entered the men singles final of an ITTF event for the second successive week, only to lose in the title clash at 2017 Challenge Seamaster Brazil Open, when he went down 1-4 (12-14, 9-11,7-11, 7-11, 5-11) to Brazlian Caldrano Hugo.


Only the previous, Amalraj lost to compatriot Soumyajit Ghosh in the Chile Open men’s final but had managed to win the doubles title in the company of Ghosh.


The eighth seeded Amalraj, who was in the best form of his life in recent times, had very little chance against Hugo who was the toast of the nation and also the tournament’s top seed.


The Brazilian won the extended first game 14-12, while losing the next to Amalraj. But then a more determined Hugo, egged on by the local crowd, simply proved his superiority and rolled past his Indian rival to claim the title.


Amalraj did pose Hugo some problems with his deft changes of spin and speed. However, once the 20-year-old Brazilian secured the third game, his confidence grew. Strong with his backhand and noticeably over the table, after winning five straight points in the fifth game Hugo moved from 4-all to 9-4. Amalraj did win a point but he could not do much against the rampaging Hugo.



Amalraj's forehand action against Hugo Caldrano in Brazil Open on Sunday.


Despite the two final losses, Amalraj can take heart from the fact that his trip to South America has been more rewarding than it was ever elsewhere as on both occasions he had exceeded expectations. In Chile, he had started proceedings as No.3 seed and in Brazil, as No. 8 seed, he was an outsider to reach the final.


“The Brazil Open was very good. The final was really tough for me, also the semi-final. Calderano is at a high level, it was not easy but I tried to do my best.” Amalraj Anthony


In a hard-fought semifinal earlier, Amalraj beat Bulgarian Philipp Floritz 6-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9. In the semifinal, the Indian had raised the level of his game despite being 0-2, 2-3 down to outwit the Bulgarian. But against Hugo, Amalraj was found wanting