Staged in “Saryarka” the National Table Tennis Centre located in Karaganda, on Wednesday 15th September, play commenced in 2021 ITTF Kazakhstan International Open; the first such tournament ever to be staged by the central Asian country.
However, they are no strangers to major events. In 2017, Astana, now known as Nur-Sultan, the capital city, hosted the 2017 Star Awards Evening followed by the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.
In both the men’s singles and women’s singles events, gaining a place in the main draw was the task on the opening day of play, the top eight names in each competition gaining direct entry to the knock-out stage.
India enjoyed notable first day success. In the men’s singles Jeet Chandra, Siddesh Pande, Snehit Suravajjula and Sudhansu Grover all completed their group matches unbeaten and in first positions.
First group place for Snehit Suravajjula
Likewise Saudi Arabia’s Naif Al-Jadi secured his main draw place, remaining unbeaten, a situation that also applied to Uzbekistan’s Elmurod Kholokov and Abdulaziz Anorboev.
Progress for visitors, there was also progress to the main draw for the host nation, Denis Zholudev duly advanced but it was close. He needed the full seven games to beat Uzbekistan’s Mukhammad Uktamboev (10-12, 11-7, 4-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9), before securing top spot in his group courtesy of success in opposition to Russia’s Maksim Kaburkin (11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 11-6).
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, it was mixed fortunes for India.
Prapti Sen duly secured first place in her group but for Ankita Das it was somewhat different.
After overcoming Kazakhstan’s Malika Sandybayeva (11-4, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6), she was beaten by Russia’s Valeria Kotcyur (11-8, 11-1, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10); her destiny depends on the contest between Malika Sandybayeva and Valeria Kotcyur, the match to be played on the second day of action.
The future for Ankita Das in doubt, not for Russia’s Daria Shadrina alongside Kazakhstan’s Aiya Alimbayeva and Alsu Saparova, top group positions were established, thus main draw places reserved.
Play in the qualification phase concludes on Thursday 16th September.
Editor: Ian Marshall