Vadodara: Local boy Manush kept his date with destiny by beating Sudhanshu Grover of Delhi 4-2 in the men’s singles final of the UTT National Ranking Championships at the Sama Indoor Complex here today.
In women’s singles, Moumita Dutta of the Railways decimated Archana Kamath of PSPB 4-1 to wear her maiden crown at this level.
Manush Shah should have sewn up the match earlier, but unexpected resistance from Sudhanshu took the final to the extra game. In the end, the nervy left-hander seized the opportunity, despite Sudhanshu seemingly being on his way to level 3-3, to lift the trophy and Rs. 77,000 in prize money. Moumita also got an equal amount for her efforts.
If Moumita was in her zone, Archana was not. The latter, playing after a layoff, showed glimpses of her prowess in the earlier rounds and the mixed doubles which she and Manav combined to become the first pair to win the title in National Ranking events. The PSPB paddler was patchy and undecided, helping her Railway rival enormously. Credit must also go to Moumita, a promising player from her junior days who never ascended to the top of the podium in all her earlier outings.
Today was a different day. She played a percentage game and converted all those negative points to her advantage, despite losing the second game after the deuce. She gained complete control and momentum from the third game to take the final to its logical end. Archana kept looking to come back, but it never happened.
Titles for Payas, Suhana
Payas Jain of Delhi huffed and puffed his way to claim the Under-19 Boys’ title, thanks to a fantastic fightback from Jash Modi of Maharashtra. Though none deserved to lose, unfortunately, Jash finished the final as the runner-up as Payas won 4-3.
The match featured several long rallies, with some great points won and some lost, keeping the spectators on the edge of their seats. The fast-paced final kept everyone hooked as the pendulum swung fast with every game, and nobody could have predicted a winner until the decider.
Suhana Saini’s form was never in doubt. However, what surprised everyone was Yashaswini Ghorpade of Karnataka going into her shell and conceding without a fight. As a result, the Haryana girl steamrolled her opponent in less than half an hour. Nevertheless, Yashaswini showed some character in the third game and made Suhana fight for her points. But then it was a futile exercise once Suhana won the third game on extended point.
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After a long time, Sudhanshu Grover of Delhi managed to put it across Manav Thakkar 4-2 in the second semi-final. However, the result of the first semi-final between Manush Shah and Ankur Bhattacharjee went along the expected line as the Gujarat paddler won 4-1.
After losing the first game, Sudhanshu was on a rampage, winning the next three games on the trot. But Manav pulled one back before Sudhanshu saved a match point to win the sixth game to enter the final.
In women’s singles, Archana Kamath showed character and courage to raise her game when she was 0-2 down against Anusha Kutumbale. Archana hit the groove in what turned out to be the game-changer for her when she won the third game 14-12 on her third game point. The win kept her in the match as she never looked back after that.
Equally interesting was the second semi-final, which Moumita Dutta won 4-3 against Poymantee Baisya. In the see-saw battle between the two Railway players, fortunes kept swinging from one extreme to another until the decider went Moumita’s way.
Jash Modi, a much-improved player in recent times, brought out his fighting qualities to the fore on the right occasion to outsmart Priyanuj Bhattacharyya 4-3 after the two shared the first six games in the second semi-final. Jash switched to assault mode in the deciding game to stop the march of his opponent from Assam. In the first semi-final of the U-19 Boys, Payas Jain beat Divyansh Srivastava 4-0.
In the Girls’ semi-finals, both Suhana Saini of Haryana and Yashaswini Ghorpade of Karnataka rolled over their opponent, blanking them out completely.
Archana-Manav pair wins
In the mixed double, introduced in the National Ranking championships here, the Petroleum pair of Archana Kamath and Manav Thakkar defeated the RBI duo of Raj Mondal and Ayhika Mukherjee 3-1.
In contrast to the final, both the semifinals went the distance. In the first, Raj Mondal and Ayhika Mukherjee defeated Ronit Bhanja and Sutirtha Mukherjee 3-2, as did Archana and Manav, who beat the combined AAI/Maharashtra pair of SFR Snehit and Diya Chitale.
Men’s Singles: Final: Manush Shah (Guj) bt Sudhanshu Grover (Del) 7-11, 12-10, 14-12, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8.
Semi-finals: Manush Shah bt Ankur Bhattacharjee (Ben) 11-7, 11-6, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7; Sudhanshu Grover bt Manav Thakkar (PSPB) 10-12, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 14-12.
Women’s Singles: Final: Moumita Dutta (RSPB) bt Archana Kamath (PSPB) 11-8, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6.
Semi-finals: Archana Kamath bt Anusha Kutumbale (MP) 5-11, 8-11, 14-12, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7; Moumita Dutta bt Poymantee Baisya (RSPB) 11-7, 8-11, 14-12, 11-3, 7-11, 4-11, 11-6.
Youth Boys U-19: Final: Payas Jain (Del) bt Jash Modi (Mah) 3-11, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 11-3, 13-11.
Semi-finals: Payas Jain bt Divyansh Srivastava (UP) 11-5, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9; Jash Modi bt Priyanuj Bhattacharyya (Asm) 9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-13, 12-10, 11-5.
Youth Girls U-19: Final: Suhana Saini (Har) bt Yashaswini Ghorpade (Kar) 11-8, 11-2, 14-12, 11-9.
Semi-finals: Suhana Saini bt Anargya Manjunath (Kar) 11-7, 11-3, 11-7, 11-9; Yashaswini Ghorpade bt Taneesha Kotecha (AAI) 11-9, 12-10, 11-5, 11-5.
Mixed Doubles: Final: Manav Thakkar/Archana Kamath (PSPB) bt Raj Mondal/Ayhika Mukherjee (RBI) 8-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-5.
Semi-finals: Raj Mondal/Ayhika Mukherjee bt Ronit Bhanja/Sutirtha Mukherjee (RSPB) 11-7, 8-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8; Manav Thakkar/Archana Kamath bt Diya Chitale/SFR Snehit (AAI/Mah) 11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 11-13, 11-0.