Young Indian paddler Manav Thakkar on Sunday became the first Indian since 2017 to clinch U-21 men’s singles title with a comfortable 11-3, 11-5, 11-6 win over Argentina’s Martin Bentancor in the ITTF Challenge Plus Benemax-Virgo North American Open in Markham, Canada.
It was India’s first U-21 men’s singles title since the ITTF Challenge Series became an entity in January 2017, as opposed to being an integral part of the ITTF World Tour.
Manav has now joined Harmeet Desai, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Soumyajit Ghosh in the list of Indians to win ITTF World Tour U-21 men’s singles titles. In 2012, Harmeet and Sathiyan won the title in Brazil and Egypt respectively while, Soumyajit clinched title in Chile in 2011.
It was also the first ever ITTF Challenge Series or ITTF World Tour tournament held in Canada. The 19-year-old Manav, who was part of the Indian men’s team which won the bronze medal in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, dominated the proceedings in the one-sided final match. Second-seeded Manav maintained his dominance throughout the final as he hardly gave Bentancor any chance to score.
Earlier in the quarter-final and semi-final, Manav beat Argentina’s Horacio Cifuentes 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 and Lorenzo Santiago 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 11-6 respectively.