Desai, Sathiyan, Amalraj enter main draw

Harmeet Desai, G Sathiyan and Anthony Amalraj increased the Indian presence in the men’s main singles draw with victories in the qualifying round of USD150,000 World Tour India Open at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex on Wednesday.

Harmeet beat Tzu-Hsiang Hung of Taipei 11-5, 17-15, 11-4, 11-7 in Group 7 to maintain clean slate in the qualification stages.  Sathiyan, dispatched Belgium’s Jasper Merckx 11-6, 11-2, 11-7, 11-5. Later in the evening Anthony carved out wins over Panamanian Omer Avi-Tal (11-8,11-4,11-8,11-4) and Hung (11-9,11-7,11-7,13-15,11-8).

Alongwith Amalraj, Manav Thakkar and Sudhanhu Grover made it to the round of 16 after finishing second in their groups, but failed to make further progress.The trio joined Soumyajit Ghosh and Sanil Shetty in the main draw along with World No 62 Sharath Kamal who had got a direct entry.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Asuka Sakai and Mori Sakura bagged the U-21 men’s and women’s titles respectively. In the men’s final, Asuka won 3-2 (11-8, 5-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-8) over Siu Hang Lam who had accounted for junior world champion Harimoto Tomokazu in the semifinals.

In the women's singles, Sakura beat Wi Yam Minnie Soo of Hong Kong 3-2 (4-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-5, 12-10) to lift the title. Sreeja Akula, ranked 322, was the lone Indian to qualify for the semifinals, shocking World No 171 Lin Po-Hsuan 11-7, 6-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-9. She, however, went down to Minnie 2-11, 11-13, 7-11.

Earlier, Karnataka’s Archana Kamath went down fighting in the quarterfinals against Hong Kong’s Tze Wing Mak 11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9.

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