Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Harmeet Desai and Sanil Shetty defeated Chinese pair Zhou Qihao and Zhu Yu 3-2 to secure their place in the men’s doubles event at the ITTF World Tour Hang Seng Hong Kong Open on Wednesday.
In a keenly-fought contest, the Indian pair emerged victorious after edging out their opponents 4-11, 11-7, 8-11, 13-11, 14-12.
Desai joined hands with Shetty after Soumyajit Ghosh was barred from India’s table tennis squad for the Commonwealth Games.
Desai and Shetty have enjoyed great success over the course of the past few months. The latter comes into the tournament in Honk Kong having finished runner up at the Thailand Open with Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.
Desai-Shetty will next face the German-Danish pair of Patrick Franziska and Jonathan Groth.
In other results, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manav Vikash Thakkar lost to Zhou Kai and Zhu Linfeng 1-3 (3-11, 11-9, 8-11, 9-11).
Sathiyan progresses, Manav falls
In the men’s singles encounter, G Sathiyan progressed to the main draw after he beat Austria’s Robert Gardos 4-1 (11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10, 12-10).
Earlier, he fought back from a two-game deficit to beat Denmark’s Zhai Yuija 4-3 (3-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9, 2-11, 11-9, 11-4) in his first match of the day. Sathiyan will now face Filus Ruwen of Germany in the main draw opener on Thursday.
Meanwhile, it was curtains for Manav Thakkar as he lost to Japan’s Yoshimura Kazuhiro in the final qualifying match by a margin of 4 -3 (5-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9). He had come into the contest following a fine victory over Kazuhiro’s compatriot Yuto Kizukuri 4-3 (11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 5-11, 4-11, 12-10, 11-2). However, he could not maintain his momentum in the final qualifying match.
The main draw commences on Thursday.