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India colts finish behind China in Asian TT meet

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New Delhi, Sep 4: After a fantastic run in the 25th Asian Junior and Cadet table tennis championships, India's junior boys' team faltered in the final as they went down 0-3 to top-seeds China at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on Wednesday.

By virtue of finishing runners-up, the second seeded India colts have qualified for the World Junior Championships to be held in Korat, Thailand, in November later this year.

India coach Brett Clarke changed his game plan and began the proceedings with Raegan Albuquerque but it didn't work as the Mumbai lad went down to Xu Yingbin 7-11, 8-11, 9-11. Raegan failed to control his game and became an easy prey for his Chinese opponent.

Even India's No. 1 player, Manush Shah, was patchy to begin with against world No. 6 Xiang Peng who, despite dropping his second game, played brilliantly to beat the Indian left-hander 11-7, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9.

However, the fast-paced match saw excellent rallies, especially in the second game when Shah picked up his momentum after levelling 2-2 and then going up 7-4. But Peng was too good to capitalise on some crucial winners to level 9-9 and at deuce it was anybody's game. 

But one fine down-the-line shot from the Indian brought him closer to victory as the Chinese sent the ball out on his serve. Going 2-1 up, the contest was over for the Indian as the Chinese upped the ante to put China 2-0 ahead.

In the third singles, Anukram Jain failed to match the guile and speed of his Chinese rival, Liu Yebo, who simply worn him down 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 to complete the task.

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