Pondicherry: Sarthak Arya of Delhi claimed his maiden Youth Boys Under-13 title after downing M. Nikkhil Menon of Tamil Nadu 4-0 in the UTT National Ranking Championships (South Zone) at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium here today.
Nikkhil, known for his fighting qualities, could not come up with answers to the counters of the Delhi boy. Using the flanks well and attacking relentlessly, Sarthak outplayed his Chennai rival. In fact, Nikkhil could not get going after conceding Sarthak a sizable lead in all the games.
The Girls final between M. Hansini of Tamil Nadu and Riana Bhoota of Maharashtra was not only a contrast to the Boys final but also had a riveting experience for the spectators. In the end, Riana won 4-2. Blessed with the left-hander’s grace, the Maharashtra girl took a 3-1 lead. But Hansini, a special invitee of the ATTU to the WTT Contender Challenge in Doha next March, fought back well to reduce the margin. Yet, she could not deny Riana the winner’s trophy.
In the Under-13 Boys semifinal, Tamil Nadu’s Nikkhil Menon defeated Benga’s Soham Mukherjee after coming back strongly. Though Soham had the advantage, Nikkhil recovered well and led 2-1. The Bengal boy restored parity, winning the fourth game. But in the last two games, the Tamil Nadu boy played superbly to take complete charge.
In the other match, Sarthak Arya of Haryana had no such hiccups against Arya Kataria. Despite losing the second game badly to the boy from Gujarat, Sarthak dominated in the next three games to enter the final.
But the Girls semifinals reached the crescendo and went down to the wire. In the first, Riana Bhoota of Maharashtra led Prisha Goel of Delhi 3-1 before letting her rival off the hook. The loss of the fifth and sixth games could have turned horrible for Riana, but she managed to pull it off in the decider. In the second, M. Hansini followed the same pattern to let her Maharashtra rival, Ikshika Umate, claw her way back into the match. Yet again, in the decider, the Tamil Nadu girl kept her cool, slowed down the game, and pounced at the opportunities to finish well.
Vatsal & Ankolika win
In the Under-11 Boys final, Vatsal Duklan of Haryana emerged victorious after beating Aditya Das of West Bengal in straight games. In the summit clash between the two Bengal players, Ankolika Chakraborty beat Ranjini Saha 3-0.
In the Boys semifinals, Aditya Das was home with a 3-0 verdict against Parsh Yadav of Haryana, but Vatsal Duklan had to pick up steam after being in 0-2 arrears. And he did precisely that to outsmart Param Bhiwandkar of Maharashtra to win 3-2.
In the Girls semifinals, Ankolika Chakraborty of West Bengal expectedly beat state-mate Ahona Ray 3-0. However, Ranjini Saha dropped a game before triumphing over Krisha Patel of Gujarat.
Youth Boys U-13 Singles: Final: Sarthak Arya (Del) bt M. Nikkhil Menon (TNTTA) 11-5, 11-7, 11-6, 11-4.
Semifinals: M. Nikkhil Menon bt Soham Mukherjee (Ben) 12-14, 11-7, 11-3, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8; Sarthak Arya bt Arya Kataria (Guj) 13-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-5.
Youth Girls U-13 Singles: Final: Riana Bhoota (Mah) bt M. Hansini (TNTTA) 11-4, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-6.
Semifinals: Riana Bhoota bt Prisha Goel (Del) 11-9, 11-7, 6-11, 11-7, 6-11, 3-11, 11-8; M. Hansini bt Ikshika Umate (Mah) 12-10, 12-10, 9-11, 11-2, 11-13, 9-11, 11-7.
Youth Boys U-11 Singles: Final: Vatsal Duklan (Har) bt Aditya Das (Ben) 11-9, 12-10, 13-11.
Semifinals: Aditya Das bt Parsh Yadav (Har) 11-5, 11-7, 11-8; Vatsal Duklan bt Param Bhiwandkar (Mah) 8-11, 6-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-2.
Youth Girls U-11 Singles: Final: Ankolika Chakraborty (Ben) bt Ranjini Saha (Ben) 11-6, 11-5, 11-4.
Semifinals: Ankolika Chakraborty bt Ahona Ray (Ben) 11-5, 11-5, 12-10; Ranjini Saha bt Krisha Patel (Guj) 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7.