The World No. 5 won both his matches emphatically here at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex to underline his class and pedigree even in this star-studded field. The country had as many as seven Indians competing for a place in the Last Eight but five of them faltered at this hurdle itself at the time of writing. Gnanasekaran Sathiyan put up the most valiant fight in the Round of 32, losing to ninth seeded Masataka Morizono of Japan in a seven-game thriller.
Young Archana Kamath, who earlier in the day beat compatriot Ayhika Mukherjee 4-2 to qualify for the pre-quarters, too pushed sixth seeded Sakura Mori of Japan to the hilt before crashing out. Archana displayed great skill and determination, and a strong offensive game as well, but ran out of ideas against her more experienced opponent.
Earlier, Ovtcharov, the World No. 5 paddler displayed his exquisite touch in his first outing itself, comprehensively beating Abdulaziz Al Abbad of Saudi Arabia 4-0 (11-3, 11-5, 11-4, 11-2). He was equally dominant in his next match, against Joao Geraldo of Portugal, to underline his pedigree even in this star-studded field. Ovtcharov barely broke into a sweat as he raced to his second straight games victory against Joao Geraldo of Portugal (11-3, 11-3, 11-5, 11-4).
He will clearly be the man to beat in this $150,000 tournament, organised by 11Even Sports with the support of Table Tennis Federation of India. Japan’s 14-year-old sensation Harimoto Tomokazu continued his good run in the tournament, staving off a strong challenge from his compatriot Asuka Sakai and breaking into the quarterfinals.