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Soumyajit, Sanil qualify for India Open TT

New Delhi, Feb 14: Indias paddlers Soumyajit Ghosh and Sanil Shetty fought back spectacularly to storm into the main draw of the $150,000 Seamaster 2017 World Tour India Open here at the Thyagaraj Stadium on Tuesday.

Soumyajit, a double Olympian and one of India’s best hopes along with Achanta Sharath Kamal, had to dig deep into his well of experience to quell a strong challenge from Saudi Arabia’s Ali Alkhadrawi 4-3. He began slowly, going down 6-11, 9-11 before he got into his groove.

The Siliguri lad won the third game 11-6 but lost the next 12-14 to be looking at the prospect of an unexpected upset. But he started attacking the left-handed Alkhadrawi’s body more to rattle him. By then, Soumyajit was in his elements, putting up a solid defensive game while going for the kill at every conceivable opportunity.

He won the crucial last three games 11-5, 11-6 and 11-8 and let out a delighted scream when he filly wrapped up the match.

“I chose a wrong strategy to begin with, playing safe,” a visibly charged up Soumyajit said after the victory. “I changed my tactics midway through and focused more on his weak points. That proved to be crucial in the last game,” he added. IANS

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Ankur Kalita