India Junior & Cadet Open: Nishaad eyes medal after entering main draw
Mumbai-lad Nishaad Shah won all three qualifying matches in Group VI to enter the main draw of the $8,000 India Junior and Cadet Open Table Tennis Championships at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, Worli yesterday.
In the first singles of the day, Nishaad snatched a thrilling 3-2 (8-11, 11-7, 12-10, 10-12, 11-7) win over India No 3 Rohit Rajashekhar. In the second singles, he defeated Al-Balooshi Salah of United Arab Emirates (UAE) 3-0 (11-2, 11-3, 11-6). Nishaad then won the third singles against Shaurya Tushar Pednekar 3-0 (11-7, 11-7, 12-10).
Nishaad who celebrated his 17th birthday on Thursday said it has been a memorable tournament for him thus far. “If qualifying for the main draw wasn’t enough, I also topped my group. Playing in Mumbai in front of the home crowd is a big thing for me. It’s more special as this happened just a day after I turned 17.
This is also the first time I made it to the main draw,” said the SYJC student of Mithibai College. Having entered the main draw, Nishaad aims to win a medal. “I cannot afford to take any player lightly and I will take it one match at a time. Making it to the quarter-final is my first priority and then I will look to win a medal,” he said.