Indian paddler Manav Thakkar scored an easy 3-0 win over Russia’s Lev Katsman to enter the semifinals and assure himself of at least a bronze in under-21 men’s singles category at the ITTF Challenge Belarus Open in Minsk on Friday.

Manav notched up a 3-0 (11-5,. 11-7, 15-13) win over Katsman in the U-21 men’s singles quarter-finals. He had earlier displayed his prowess, registering a hard-fought 3-2 (9-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9) win against world no 8 Yuki Matsuyama of Japan in the round of 16.

Manav started off his campaign with an easy 3-0 (11-6, 11-2, 11-8) win over Russia’s Maksim Grebnev. In the next clash, Israel’s Aviv Ben-Ari put up a staunch fight but capitulated as the Indian won the game 3-1 (12-10, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7).

In the men’s singles event, Manav had breezed past Japan’s Kohei Sambe 4-2 on Thursday to progress into the round of 32. Manav didn’t have the best of starts as he went down 6-11 in the first game but bounced back to win the next three and capitalized on the lead to bag the tie 4-1.

Among others, Harmeet Desai also progressed to the next round of the senior category with a convincing 4-0 win over Germany’s Dennis Klein but Sanil Shetty couldn’t follow suit, bowing out of the tournament rather meekly after a 0-4 loss to Russia’s Denis Ivonin. Desai will take on Alexey Liventsov of Russia next.

In the men’s doubles category, the duo of Harmeet-Sanil couldn’t get past the combination of Oleksandr Didukh of Ukraine and Lubomir Pistej of Slovakia in their opening round of 16, going down 1-4 to bow out of the tournament.