Germany’s World No.33 Raphael Kandra upset the seedings on day two of the Qatar Classic after he took out World No.13 Saurav Ghosal 10-12, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7, with the Indian struggling with an injury towards the end of the match.
Kandra was 8-6 down in the first but managed to claw his way back into the game to hold two game balls. A lengthy rally with some sublime retrievals on show from both players saw Ghosal save one of those game balls before an error from Kandra allowed the Indian to draw back level and then go on to close out on the tie-break to take the lead.
All four corners were explored during this wonderful rally between— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) November 2, 2020
SauravGhosal</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/raphkandra?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">raphkandra #QatarClassic pic.twitter.com/gxDcNBQM6U
34-year-old Ghosal started the second well and built up a healthy lead at 9-6 before Kandra managed to switch momentum in his favour and went on a run to take five points in a row and level with the second game.
An injury looked to be causing problems for Ghosal in the third as 30-year-old Kandra rattled off the points to quickly take a 2-1 lead with the Indian needing to take a three-minute injury break at the end of the game.
The break didn’t look to have helped his cause, however, as Kandra was able to hold off a small fightback to see out the victory in four games and reach the last 16 of a Platinum event for the first time since the 2019 U.S. Open.
“I’m relieved,” said Kandra following his win.
“I’ve been waiting for those moments where you are kind of getting into the flow and trying to play your best. Today, there were a lot of patches during the match where I thought ‘ok, this is how I want to play’ and this is how I train to play.
“Altogether this is definitely not how you want to win. Of course, he played on and he was still kind of moving but wasn’t at his best and I wish him a quick recovery, he probably has time now since COVID-19 is kind of taking us back. Overall, I’m super happy – third round, it has been a while and I’m really looking forward to continue.
“We all had a period of time after March where everything was locked down and you couldn’t do anything apart from train outside. The weather was alright, and I did a lot of bike sessions, hill sprints, running in the forest and stuff like that. Overall I’m just happy to be here and injury free and really looking forward to competing.”
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-1: 10-12, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 (46m)