Indian paddler Mudit Dani secured his first-ever International Table Tennis Federation senior medal after progressing into the men’s doubles semi-finals in the US Open Championships at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Texas on Wednesday.
In a hard-fought quarter-final, Mudit, playing along with Canada’s Marko Medjugorac, showed good resilience to ensure 4:2 (11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9) win against the USA pair of Tian Ye and Si Zhigao.
“It’s even more special to win it (first ITTF senior medal) at such a prestigious event like the US Open. Our confidence is at a higher level after performing well in the earlier rounds. I am sure it will help us tomorrow in the semi-finals against the Japanese pair. I would like to thank MP Singh and TTFI for their support,” said Mudit, who will take on giant-killers Hiromitsu Kasahara and Fujimura Tomoya of Japan on Friday. The Japanese pair entered semi-finals after thrashing the second-seeded pair of Kou Lei and Zheng Pu 4-0.
Mudit, who is currently placed 86th in the U-21 rankings has recently teamed up with World No 248 Medjugorac. The duo has been producing impressive performances in the on-going competition. They began their quest for the title with a gritty 3-1 win over USA’s Tianrui Zhang and Wang Zhe in the opening round.
Mudit and Medjugorac staved off a stiff challenge from their opponents to record a 17-15, 11-4, 10-12, 11-6 win. In the pre-quarterfinals, despite the Puerto Rican Birriel brothers, Oscar and Ruben, taking a game away, Mudit and Medjugorac rebounded strongly to complete a 3-1 (11-6, 11-5, 10-12, 11-8) victory.
In a bid to take his career to high level, the youngster moved to Germany last year to hone his skills in the European league. The hard work has resulted in him jumping 199 spots, from 285, at the beginning of the year, to his current U-21 ranking of 86, as he will look to continue his steady rise in the senior rankings as well.