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Top teams qualify, MP have a good chance to move up

Indore: With a round yet to go, Maharashtra and West Bengal entered the pre-quarterfinals of the team events in the Under-15 Girls of the 85th UTT Cadet and Sub-Junior National Table Tennis Championships at the Abhay Prashal Indoor Stadium here today.

They translated their on-paper superiority into a reality, emerging as the leader of their respective A and B groups, comprising three teams each. In doing so, the Maharashtra girls thrashed each PSPBA and Pondicherry 3-0, and West Bengal enacted a similar scene and verdicts against Rajasthan (TTFI-1) and Madhya Pradesh, in that order.

Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Kerala, Haryana, NCOE, and Karnataka are the other teams that ensured their qualification from the remaining six groups to join them. All these teams, part of the four-squad groups, posted two wins each to secure their pre-quarterfinals place.

It leaves the battle for the second spot from each group wide open, and the teams with a better chance to qualify are PSPBA, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, UP, Gujarat, and Telangana. But they will have to win their third-round matches to get where they want to.

In the matches that were gone by, only a few matches went down to the wire, especially in the second round. Even West Bengal struggled partially against Madhya Pradesh before overcoming the hosts 3-1. After trailing 0-2, Madhya Pradesh came back in the doubles.

In the third rubber of the tie, Bhavya Rao and Advika Agrawal raised hopes and gave a harrowing moment to the Bengal pair of Aarushi Nandi and Prateeti Paul. The rubber hung in balance when the Bengal duo restored parity winning back-to-back games after MP held a 2-0 advantage.

However, Bhavya and Advika brushed aside the threat and won the decider to pull one back (13-11, 11-8, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8). But Syndrela Das, on whom the team banks heavily, played her part and won the reverse singles against Advika. Earlier, Syndrela beat Parmi Nagdeve 11-3, 11-7, 11-5. Madhya Pradesh has a good chance to beat Rajasthan (TTFI-1) in the last round and seal their second-stage berth.

Yet, the best match of the afternoon was between Kerala and Chandigarh. The battle went the distance when Tia Mundenkurian brought cheers to the Kerala bench with an 11-6, 5-11, 12-10, 11-8 win over Teetiksha Goel. Tia, however, did not have a good start and lost 9-11, 11-8, 10-12, 4-11 to Vani Sharma. But Edwina Edward beat Teetiksha 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 4-11, 11-9 in a fight, which kept Kerala interests alive.

Though they lost the next rubber, the doubles, Edwina again made brilliant efforts to beat Vani 4-11, 11-9, 15-13, 6-11, 11-7 before Tia wrapped up the fifth rubber in her team’s favour.

The draw for the second-stage team events will take place in the evening after the conclusion of the third-round matches.

Team (Rounds 1 & 2):

Group A: Maharashtra bt PSPBA 3-0; Maharashtra bt Pondicherry 3-0.

Group B: West Bengal bt Rajasthan (TTFI-1) 3-0; West Bengal bt Madhya Pradesh 3-1.

Group C: Tamil Nadu bt Uttarakhand 3-0, Goa bt Daman & Diu 3-0; Tamil Nadu bt Goa 3-0, Uttarakhand bt Daman & Diu 3-0.

Group D: Delhi bt Odisha 3-0, Andhra Pradesh bt J & K 3-1; Delhi bt Andhra Pradesh 3-0, Odisha bt J & K 3-1.

Group E: Chandigarh bt Assam 3-0, Kerala bt Punjab 3-0; Assam bt Punjab 3-0, Kerala bt Chandigarh 3-2.

Group F: Haryana bt Himachal 3-0, UP bt Chhattisgarh 3-0; Haryana bt UP 3-0, Himachal bt Chhattisgarh 3-0.

Group G: Gujarat bt Rajasthan (TTFI-2) 3-0, NCOE bt Bihar 3-0; NCOE bt Gujarat 3-0, Rajasthan (TTFI 2) bt Bihar 3-0.

Group H: Karnataka bt Jharkhand 3-0, Telangana bt Meghalaya 3-0; Karnataka bt Telangana 3-2, Jharkhand bt Meghalaya 3-0.




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