Greater Noida, November 3: Top-seed Japanese and cynosure of all eyes, Harimoto Tomokazu, settled down nicely after his initial struggle to enter the second stage of the ITTF 2018 YOG Continental Qualifications for Asia at the Gautam Buddha University hall here today.
Along with the Japanese, others who booked their second stage passage included Taipei’s Yun-Ju Lin, Chinese Chuqin Wang, Korean Cho Daeseong, Indian Manav Thakkar and Iran’s Amin Ahmadian—all of whom lived up to their seeding to ensure a second-stage spot for themselves. After the third round tomorrow morning, the second qualifier from each group will be known.
Manav was somewhat low on confidence in his first match against Sri Lankan Dishanka Patiranalage when he was down 8-10 in the first round opening game. But the fifth seed managed a 13-11 win that helped him go up 2-0. But when the 18th seed Sri Lankan did well to take the next and in the fourth pushed Manav to the brink before the Indian came back.
“I was not getting the right feel. I needed to concentrate more for the matches ahead,” admitted the Indian. And he did precisely that against Thailand’s Yanapong Panagitgun, seeded No. 7, and played true to his potential to win in straight games.
Harimoto Tomokazu of Japan in action in their first round match in the YOG Continental Qualifications for Asia on Friday
Harimoto, who has come here with a great reputation, was expected to run through his opponent and give the tournament a rousing start. But the 14-year-old was struggling against 13th seed Khaled Khader of Jordan despite taking a 2-0 lead. Probably, the latter’s third, extended game win put off the Japanese and that affected him in the next game as well when Khader ran him close before Harimoto managed to win 12-10. Thereafter, with his powerful backhand, the top-seed pulled the shutters down on the Jordanian. In the second round, however, Harimoto quickly cleaned up Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Alamri to qualify for the second stage league.
Miu Hirano, who is the top seed in girls section, was more clinical than Harimoto in disposing of her group rivals, Wangling Zhang of Singapore and Tina Alkhoury of Jordan in straight games to make the second-stage cut. But the Singapore girl, No. 9 seed, was not only struggling against Miu, but also against Kazakhstan’s Zauresh Akasheva. The seventh-seed Kazakh played brilliantly to go 2-0 up but the third game win restored Zhang’s confidence and despite losing the next, she held her nerve to post her first triumph in the group.
Archana Kamath, Sun, Jinnipa Sawettabut and Su moved into the second stage of the league along with Hirano, registering two wins each in their group. But Archana Kamath, who won her first round match against Philippines’ Janah Maryan in straight games, struggled against 12th seed Korean Lee Daeun.
Miu Hirano of Japan in action in their first round match in the YOG Continental Qualifications for Asia on Friday
The Korean stretched the Indian full distance but a courageous Archana, down 1-5 in the decider, fought well to level at 7-7 and for the first time went 9-8 up to close down on the Korean rival who was good at her backhand.
“Even when I was frustrated, my coach was confident. And the timeout at 1-4 helped me cool down my nerves and I played well thereafter to repose the faith the coach had in me,” said Archana.
Group 1: 1st Round: Harimato Tomokazu (JPN) bt Khald Khader (JOR) 11-4, 11-6. 13-15, 12-10, 11-3; 2nd Round: Harimato Tomokazu (JPN) Abdulaziz Alamri (KSA) 11-5, 11-3, 11-1, 11-4.
Group 2: 1st Round: Yun-Ju Lin (TPE) bt Salah AlBalooshi (UAE) 11-3, 11-7, 11-1, 11-8; 2nd Round: Yun-Ju Lin (TPE) bt Yew En Koen Pang (SGP) 11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-3.
Group 3: 1st Round: Chuqin Wang (CHN) bt Aidos Kenzhigulov (KAZ) 11-6, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5; 2nd Round: Chuqin Wang (CHN) bt Javen Choong (MAS) 11-5, 11-2, 11-8, 11-7.
Group 4: 1st Round: Cho Daeseong (KOR) btMohamed Shaffan (MDV) 11-4, 11-1, 11-7, 11-4; 2nd Round: Cho Daeseong (KOR) bt Maurice Kai Ning (HKG) 11-8, 11-5, 11-7, 11-5.
Group 5: 1st Round: Manav Thakkar (IND) bt Dishanka Patiranalage (SRI) 13-11 11-4, 9-11, 14-12, 11-6; 2nd Round: Manav Thakkar (IND) bt Yanapong Panagitgun (THA) 11-5, 11-9, 11-5, 11-2.
Group 6: 1st Round: Amin Ahmadian (IRI) bt Ghaleb Fahes (LBN) 13-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4; 2nd Round: Amin Ahmadian (IRI) bt Jaan Mari Nayre (PHI) 11-9, 11-5, 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9.
Group 1: 1st Round: Miu Hirano (JPN) bt Wanling Zhang (SGP) 11-7, 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5; Zauresh Akasheva (KAZ) bt Tina Alkhoury (JOR) 11-2, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6;
2nd Round: Miu Hirano (JPN) bt Tina Alkhoury (JOR) 11-3, 11-3, 11-3, 11-6; Wanling Zhang (SGP) bt Zauresh Akasheva (KAZ) 11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 11-3, 4-11, 11-5.
Group 2: 1st Round: Yingsha Sun (CHN) bt Mahshid Ashtari (IRI) 11-2, 11-6, 11-1, 11-6; Karen Lyne (MAS) bt Hansani Kapugeekiyana (SRI) 11-6, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7; 2nd Round: Yingsha Sun (CHN) bt Hansani Kapugeekiyana (SRI) 11-5, 11-7, 11-4, 11-7; Karen Lyne (MAS) bt Mahshid Ashtari (IRI) 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9.
Group 3: 1st Round: Archana Kamath (IND) bt Janah Maryan (PHI) 11-4, 11-6, 11-8, 11-3; Jinnipa Sawettabut (THA) bt Lee Daeun (KOR) 10-12, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11; 2nd Round: Archana Kamath (IND) bt Lee Daeun (KOR) 11-6, 11-13, 11-8, 11-13, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8; Jinnipa Sawettabut (THA) bt Jan nah Maryam (PHI) 11-7, 12-10, 11-5, 12-10.
Group 4: 1st Round: Pei-Ling Su (TPE) bt Kamila Khalikova (UZB) 11-9, 11-5, 11-5, 11-4; Sze Wi Chau (HKG) bt Laetitia Azar (LBN) 9-11, 11-3, 11-2, 11-3, 11-1; 2nd Round: Pei-Ling Su (TPE) bt Laetitia Azar (LBN) 11-2, 11-7, 11-4, 11-2; Sze Wi Chau (HKG) bt Kamila Khalikova (UZB) 11-2, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7.