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Paddler Amalraj finishes runner-up in Brazil Open

IANS logoIANS 08-05-2017

Earlier, Amalraj lost to compatriot Soumyajit Ghosh in the Chile Open men's final but then managed to win the doubles title in the company of Ghosh.

Eighth-seeded Amalraj, who was in the best form of his life in recent times, had very little chance against Hugo who was the toast of the nation and also the tournament's top seed.

The Brazilian won the extended first game 14-12, while losing the next to Amalraj. But then a more determined Hugo, egged on by the local crowd, simply proved his superiority and rolled past his Indian rival to claim the title.

Amalraj did pose Hugo some problems with his deft changes of spin and speed. However, once the 20-year-old Brazilian secured the third game, his confidence grew.

Strong with his backhand and noticeably over the table, after winning five straight points in the fifth game Hugo moved from 4-all to 9-4. Amalraj did win a point but he could not do much against the rampaging Hugo.

Despite the two final losses, Amalraj can take heart from the fact that his trip to South America has been more rewarding than it was ever elsewhere as on both occasions he had exceeded expectations. In Chile, he had started proceedings as No.3 seed and in Brazil, as No. 8 seed, he was an outsider to reach the final.

"The Brazil Open was very good. The final was really tough for me, also the semi-final. Calderano is at a high level, it was not easy but I tried to do my best." Amalraj Anthony said.

In a hard-fought semifinal earlier, Amalraj beat Bulgarian Philipp Floritz 6-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9. In the semifinals, the Indian raised the level of his game despite being 0-2, 2-3 down to outwit the Bulgarian. But against Hugo, Amalraj was found wanting.

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