Anthony Amalraj, who successfully battled Covid-19 after testing positive in October, progressed to the round of 32 in the UTT 82nd National Table Tennis Championships with a close win over Soumyadeep Sarkar, in Panchkula on Sunday.

Ninth seed Amalraj eked out a 12-10, 7-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 14-12 win at the Tau Devi Lal Indoor Stadium, while 10th-seeded Jeet Chandra went down meekly to former sub-junior champion Preyesh Raj Suresh.

The Tamil Nadu paddler, a junior now, won 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9 against Jeet. The left-hander who surprises with wonderful service variations shocked the Haryana lad.

Jeet, who plays an attacking game, was not up to his billing. Nor could he match up to the left-hander whose excellent use of flanks and returns perpetually confused the well-known paddler.

Essentially a forehand player, who believes in the attack, struggled for most part of his R64 match.

Soumyadeep, on the other hand, returned with full energy against the troubled Amalraj.

From start to the finish, the onus was on the former national champion to re-establish. But it was Soumyadeep who stroked his way, mounting pressure on the ninth-seed, who often failed to put the ball on the table.

In another match, 13th seed Jubin Kumar found the going tough against Akaash Nath of MC&IT.

But for these aberrations, the other seeded players had it easy against their opponents, including top seed A Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar.