Oman Open: Archana bags silver, Manav, Sathiyan exit

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New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) Rising Indian paddler Archana Kamath proved her mettle once again as she clinched the silver in the Under-21 womens singles category of Oman Open, a part of the ITTF Challenge Plus, on Sunday afternoon.

While Archana dazzled in her category to bag a medal, World No. 28 Sathiyan Gnanasekaran fought hard to only lose out in the semi-final stage of the men’s singles bracket, while Manav Thakkar faltered at the last four stage of the U-21 Men’s singles category.

The Bengaluru lass, ranked World No. 26 (U-21), started off her campaign with an easy 3-0 win over World No. 6 Valeria Shcherbatykh of Russia before securing a win over Rui Xuan Goi of Singapore with an identical scoreline.

Archana didn’t have the best of the starts in the penultimate round as she lost the opening two games 6-11, 5-11 but showed great tenacity to win the next three 11-2, 11-6, 11-9 against World No. 12 Mariia Tailakova of Russia.

In the finals, up against the World No. 4 Satsuki Odo of Japan, she tried her best but could not match her opponent’s prowess and went down 0-3 to settle for the silver.

In the men’s singles category, Sathiyan started off his campaign with a comfortable 4-2 win over Belgium’s Martin Allegro and then romped past Belarus’ Aliaksandr Khanin (4-1) to progress into the round of 16. Alongside Sathiyan, India’s Anthony Amalraj and Sharath Kamal also made their way into the last 16.

As fate would have it, Sathiyan was drawn up against Amalraj and the former couldn’t get off to a winning start but bounced back to win the next games and beat his compatriot 4-1 to book a berth in the quarters.

However, Sharath couldn’t replicate his compatriot’s heroics and went down to Tomislav Pucar of Croatia in the round of 16.

Sathiyan then got past World No. 36 Emmanuel Lebesson of France to set up a semis clash with World No. 15 Mattias Falck of Sweden. Sathiyan dug deep and stretched the Swede to the limits, but eventually had to bow out without a medal after a hard fought 3-4 defeat.

The U-21 Men’s singles encounter saw World No. 16 (U-21) Manav Thakkar use his attacking approach to tower over Singapore’s Lucas Tan before he beat his compatriot Jeet Chandra with an identical 3-0 score line, to reach the semi-finals.

In the last four clash, World No. 30 Artur Abusev of Russia, ranked lower than Manav, started off with two tough wins (11-7, 11-8) before Manav pulled one back in his favour. However, the Russian wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip as he took it away from Manav with a clinical 11-5 win.

–IANS

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