New Delhi: Manav Thakkar regained the Junior Boys singles title blanking out Anirban Ghosh of West Bengal 4-0 in the Vatika National Ranking (North Zone) Table Tennis Championships, being played at the Hansraj Model School, here on Friday.
The Petroleum Sports Promotion Board Academy (PSPBA) boy, who could not make it to the final of the West Zone at Thane, played brilliantly to outscore Anirban, who showed excellent form in the semifinal as well as in earlier matches.
Earlier, top women’s seed, Manika Batra and No. 6 seed Madhurika Patkar not only needed some luck but also had to keep their patience and strength intact in crucial games to storm into the women’s singles semifinals of Manika defeated No. 8 Pooja Sahasrabudhe while Madhurika accounted for No. 3 seed Ankita Das, both matches going into the seventh games. Similarly, veteran Subhajit Saha had to bring in his experience to enter the men’s singles semifinals, beating young Ravindra Kotiyan of Railways 4-3. Playing his best this season, he had earlier sent Sanil Shetty packing in the pre-quarterfinals.
It needed cool temperament and extra courage to score a come-from-behind win. And that was what top-seed Manika Batra did to storm into the semifinals, beating No. 8 seed Pooja Sahasrabudhe. Down and out at 1-3, the Delhi girl made a fine recovery from game 5, executing her backhands to score great winners and eventually emerge victorious. Pooja, somehow, went into her shell after the sizeable lead and failed to counter her PSPB colleague.
Divya Deshpande, Central Zone winner at Jamnagar, accounted for RBI’s Krittwika Sinha Roy 4-0, while Mouma, beat Mousumi Paul 4-2 and Madhurika Patkar overcame a stiff resistance from her PSPB colleague Ankita Das to win 4-3. Mouma was down 0-2 and 2-4 before staging her recovery while Madhurika had to play out of her skin to outwit Ankita who led 3-2. Incidentally, this was Ankita’s first national ranking outing this season.
In men’s quarterfinals, Subhajit Saha continued to surprise with his experience and beat Railways’ Ravindra Kotiyan, who earlier felled G. Sathiyan. Saha won 4-3 in a gruelling encounter—the only match that went the full distance—with Kotiyan, coming from 1-3 down, failed to capitalize on his form and a tiring Saha.
Other quarterfinal winners included Antohony Amalraj, who beat Abhishek Yadav 4-0, Devesh Karia defeated another Railways man Anirban Nandi 4-1 and Soumyajit Ghosh downed Sudhanshu Grover 4-0.
Their semifinals and finals, along with that of Youth Boys and Girls, will be played tomorrow, the concluding day of the championships.
Mockery of seeding
Upsets are part and parcel of any tournament. But in a rare case scenario, three men seeds bowed out in the pre-quarterfinal stages of the championships here today. No. 3 seed Harmeet Desai, No. 4 G. Sathiyan, No. 5 Sanil Shetty bowed out, going down 3-4 after good fights. But their defeats also exposed these India players’ inconsistency and, more importantly, the domination of their opponents.
Harmeet Desai, who has been running low in confidence and form, has failed to in the last three zonal events, including this one. He went down to Railways veteran Anirban Nandi 11-9, 1-11, 12-10, 6-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9, Sathiyan, despite 3-2 lead, bowed to the guile and speed of Ravindra Kotiyan, who won 12-10, 2-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-13, 12-10, 11-7 and the young Sanil Shetty could not sustain against Subhajit Saha, another veteran, and lost 9-11, 10-12, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7.
Though it was really shocking to see all the three good players making exit, it was a pleasant surprise as well as a good omen that players like Ravindra Kotiyan, who is a Youth section player, and Anirban Nandi, who seemed past his prime, posing questions and making right noises.
Both these matches were the highlights of the day and Kotiyan, down 2-6 showed great courage to level 6-6, then 7-7 and go up 8-7 in the decider. From there, the drooping shoulders of Sathiyan said it all and Kotiyan gleefully stopped him at just 7 points. Similarly, the sixth was the game changer for Nandi who easily took it to level the match. In the decider, he made fewer mistakes and Harmeet losing steam also last it by minimal points.
Gujarat’s Devesh Karia benefited from umpire oversight to go through when he beat Lalrin Puia 9-11, 11-13, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7. Obviously tried in a seven-game match, Karia was taking too much time to catch up with breath in the decider as if he was taking a walk in the park. Umpire should not only have warned him first time when he did so very early in the last game and given away points to his opponents subsequently every time he wasted time. At least four points should have gone Puia’s way.
Junior Boys: Final: Manav Thakkar (PSPBA) bt Anirban Ghosh (WB) 4-0 (11-9, 11-4, 11-8, 11-4); Semifinals: Manav Thakkar bt Jeet Chandra (WB) 11-8, 11-8, 12-10, 11-4, Anirban Ghosh bt Ananth Devarajan (TN) 11-7, 11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 6-11, 11-7; Quarterfinals: Manav Thakkar bt Ronit Bhanja (WB) 11-8, 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 7-11, 11-4, Jeet Chandra bt Parth Virmani (Del) 11-4, 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, Ananth Devarajan bt Shaurya Pednekar (Mah) 11-8, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 11-4, Anirban Ghosh bt Siddhesh Pande (Mah) 11-7, 3-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8.
Men’s singles: Quarterfinals: Anothony Amalraj (PSPB) bt Abhishek Yadav (PSPB) 11-9, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9, Subhajit Saha (PSPB) bt Ravindra Kotiyan (RSPB) 11-2, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 4-11, 11-6, Devesh Karia (Guj) bt Anirban Nandi (RSPB) 11-5, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7, Soumyajit Ghosh (PSPB) bt Sudhanshu Grover (PSPB) 13-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7.
Women’s singles: Quarterfinals: Manika Batra (PSPB) bt Pooja Sahasrabudhe (PSPB) 5-11, 8-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-9, Divya Deshpande (Mah) bt Krittiwika Sinha Roy (RBI) 11-4, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4, Madhurika Patkar (PSPB) bt Ankita Das (PSPB) 9-11, 11-9, 14-16, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9, Mouma Das (PSPB) bt Mousumi Paul (PSPB) 9-11, 7-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3.