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Indian challenge ends in Korea Open

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New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) The India challenge at the $300,000 ITTF World Tour Korea Open Super Series Table Tennis Championships came to and end after Anthony Amalraj went down to Tristan Flore of France to make a first round exit in Incheon, South Korea, Friday.

The Indian paddler, who won 4-3 (11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9) against his Korean rival Hyundeok Seo found the French a tough nut to crack in the round of 32 and lost 9-11, 6-11, 6-11, 11-6, 7-11 in what turned out to be a one-sided affair. It was a poor performance from the former national champion who put up a gritty show against Seo when stretched to the full distance. 

In the morning, Amalraj played to a proper plan, attacking from the flanks and using both his back and forehands to greater effect. He, however, seemed to have forgotten his strong points and failed to match his French opponent's flawless game plan.

Though the two have never met in any tournament before, Flore was all over his opponent pounding him with scorching forehands. A normally attacking Amalraj went into a defensive mode and his shell that he was never able to come out of it, though he managed to take a game of Fore. But that was all he could he and bowed out meekly.

Nevertheless, it was still a better display by him than his more famed compatriots like Achanta Sharath Kamal, who went down to Donghoon Kang of Korea 2-4 (8-11, 9-11, 4-11, 11-8, 13-11, 8-11) and Soumyajit Ghos, who fared poorly with a 0-4 showing against another Korean Youngsik Jung. 

Harmeet Desai was the yet another Indian who bowed out in the round of 64, but he had at least put up a good fight against Singapore's Ning Gao. The Indian lost 11-3, 11-7,6-11,11-9,8-11,4-11,6-11.

The Indians would now leave for Tokyo to participate in the Japan Open Super Series which starts June 18.

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