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Manav regains title and Sreeja wins season’s first

Vijayawada: Top-seeded Manav Thakkar defeated G. Sathiyan 4-2 to lift the men’s singles trophy in the fourth UTT National Ranking Table Tennis Championships at the Ramakotaiah Indoor Stadium today.

Sathiyan, the second seed, conceded the match in the sixth game when he was trailing 0-2 because of a back spasm he was suffering from. Nevertheless, he fought and opened well and even led 2-1. But his back pain shot up sharply and rendered him helpless. Yet, the reigning national champion carried on for a while before conceding in the sixth game.

Archana Kamath had things going her way in the final against top seed Sreeja Akula. Leading 3-1, she failed to press home the advantage to win the second crown. But the credit must go to the RBI woman, who seized the moment in the fifth game and avoided the two close calls in the sixth and seventh games to win her second title this season.

The second seed led 10-8 in the decider but failed to nail it down when the opportunity presented. She allowed Sreeja four consecutive points from that position to claim the title. Archana will retrospect the loss and regret her defensive tactics at times. It is not her game because whenever she attacked, she more often than not finished well.

After pooh-poohing an imminent threat in the quarterfinals, Archana decimated third seed Ayhika Mukherjee in the semifinals to win 4-0. The dominance of Archana was so much that she needed just 25 minutes to accomplish the win.

However, in contrast, she was down and out in the quarters against Anusha Kutumbale of AAI, trailing 0-2 down. Somehow, she gets fired up when down, as happened in Vadodara. It was no different here. She perhaps visualised the Vadodara quarterfinals and upped the ante to clip the wings of Anusha thoroughly and post a 3-2 win.

Sreeja sailed into the final after some midway struggles against fourth seed Sutirtha, winning her semifinal 4-2. Sreeja led 3-0 but let Sutirtha come back strong and breathe down her neck at 2-3. However, the RBI woman wrapped it up in the sixth game.

Sixth seed Sharath was on course when he led 2-0 and 10-8 in the third game of his quarterfinal against Sourav Saha. But the 10-time national champion squandered the advantage to bow out 2-3. Sharath hardly put any effort into his outing last night, and it must have even surprised the paddler himself.

In the men’s singles semifinals, top seed Manav picked up from where he left off last night to beat Anthony Amalraj 4-1. Second seed G. Sathiyan dropped a couple of games against Sourav Saha, but the latter could neither repeat his quarterfinal performance nor stop his rival from entering his maiden final of the season. Sathiyan won 4-2.

Sarth shocks Divyansh

The U-19 Youth Boys final was the best in recent times, and in the all-UP showdown, Sarth Mishra dug himself out of a deep mire to win the title against Divyansh Srivastava. His 4-3 win, especially how he kept his cool in the last three extended games, gave a lesson that Divyansh must have relished.

After a comfortable 3-0 lead by Divyansh, Sarth looked down the barrel. But he avoided the inevitable title loss as he inched his way up slowly but surely to gather courage and bring momentum into his game to do the impossible. The pressure was on Divyansh, and he wilted after the deuce in three successive games to give Sarth his crown.

In the semifinals earlier, Sarth outplayed Jash Modi to win 3-1, while Divyansh scored an identical triumph over K.J. Aakash of Karnataka. It meant the two UP paddlers would clash in the final.

In the U-19 Girls’ final, Pritha Vartikar of Maharashtra defeated state-mate Sampada Bhiwandkar 4-1 in a one-sided affair. The winner led 2-0 before conceding a game to Sampada. But the Pune girl soon dumped her with precise hitting and fine placings to win her maiden title of the season.

In their semifinals, Sampada Bhiwandkar of Maharashtra surprised Nandini Shara from West Bengal with a 3-2 win and another player from the state, Pritha Vartikar, joined her in the final after beating Kavyashree Baskar of Tamil Nadu (3-2) in a similar way.


Men’s SinglesFinal: Manav Thakkar (PSPB) bt G. Sathiyan (PSPB) 4-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-0 (conceded).

Semifinals: Manav Thakkar bt Anthony Amalraj (PSPB) 6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7; G. Sathiyan bt Sourav Saha (PSPB) 11-3, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 12-14, 11-6.

Quarterfinals: Manav Thakkar bt Jeet Chandra (AAI) 3-0; Anthony Amalraj bt Ronit Bhanja (RSPB) 3-0; Sourav Saha bt Sharath Kamal (PSPB) 3-2; G. Sathiyan bt Anirban Ghosh (RSPB) 3-0.

Women’s SinglesFinal: Sreeja Akula (RBI) bt Archana Kamath (PSPB) 6-11, 9-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-7, 12-10, 12-10.

Semifinals: Sreeja Akula bt Sutirtha Mukherjee (RSPB) 12-10, 11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 10-12, 11-7; Archana Kamath bt Ayhika Mukherjee (RBI) 11-5, 11-9, 11-1, 11-9.

Quarterfinals: Sreeja Akula bt Poymantee Baisya (RSPB) 3-0; Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Mouma Das (PSPB) 3-1; Ayhika Mukherjee bt Yashini Sivashankar (TN) 3-1; Archana Kamath bt Anusha Kutumbale (RSPB) 3-2.

Youth Boys U-19Final: Sarth Mishra (UP) bt Divyansh Srivastava (UP) 9-11, 4-11, 4-11, 11-6, 12-10, 12-10, 14-10.

Semifinals: Sarth Mishra bt Jash Modi (Mah) 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-1; Divyansh Srivastava bt K.J. Aakash (AAI) 11-3, 4-11, 11-8, 11-4.

Youth Girls U-19Final: Pritha Vartikar (Mah) bt Sampada Bhiwandkar (Mah) 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 1-9.

Semifinals: Sampada Bhiwandkar bt Nandini Saha (WB) 11-8, 11-3, 8-11, 9-11, 11-6; Pritha Vartikar bt Kavyashree Baskar (TN) 8-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9, 11-4.





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