UTT 30th Masters National Table Tennis Championships: Delhi and Karnataka men enter 80+ semifinals

ttHyderabad: The teams from Delhi and Karnataka topped their respective groups of three teams each in the Men's Team 80+ category and ensured a medal each on the first day of the UTT 30th Masters National Table Tennis Championships at the Saroornagar Indoor Stadium today.

The paddlers of both teams scored 3-0 against their group opponents to lead the points table. Delhi, comprising B.N. Kazanchi and Anand Prakash, first defeated hosts Telangana and then downed Andhra Pradesh in Group A to keep their slate clean and secure a place in the semifinals. Similarly, Karnataka's Gopalan Swaminathan and K. Satyanarayan did their job against Tamil Nadu and West Bengal to make it to the medal rounds.

Now, they await their opponents in the semifinals. The teams finishing second in their respective groups will join Delhi and Karnataka in the semifinals. Third-round matches later this evening will determine the teams from the two groups making the grade.

Khazanchi defeated Kamalakar Rao of Telangana 11-3, 11-5, 11-8 to set the process in motion. In his efforts to consolidate their position, Anand Prakash began his campaign. However, it was not as easy as he would have envisaged. Mukalla Ramamurthy of Telangana took the first two games, putting enormous pressure on Anand.

Yet, the Delhi veteran won the third game narrowly. But the win in the fourth game took Anand closer to achieving, and the pressure shifted to Ramamurthy, who wilted as Anand made a great escape to win the extended decider. Anand won 6-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 12-10.

With two rubbers in their pockets, Anand and Khazanchi combined well against Pothuraju Bala and Haranandha Babu, the Telangana doubles pair and won 11-6, 11-6, 11-7.

In their second round against Andhra Pradesh, Khanzanchi and Anand beat Satyananda Rao Thota and Mohammed Khaizar Hayath 3-1. They followed up with a similar score in the doubles against the Andhra duo, sealing their semifinal spot.

Gopalan of Karnataka beat V. Natarajan of Tamil Nadu 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8 in the first rubber. Satyanarayan lost the first game before gathering himself up to beat J.A. Anantharaj 6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7. Later, the two joined hands to down T.V Sriram and S. Natarajan of Tamil Nadu 11-3, 11-6, 11-4.

In their second round, Satyanarayan scored 11-2, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6 win over Anjan Dhar of West Bengal to put Karnataka in the lead. Gopalan thumped Ashoke Pyne 11-1, 11-3, 11-4 before the two combined to defeat Anjan Dhar and Ashoke Pyne 11-3, 11-6, 11-1 to enter the semifinals.

In the above 75 and 70 age categories in Men's Team events and 60+ and the combined (65, 70 and 75) Women's Team events, a couple of rounds later in the evening, a clear picture will emerge.