Event Section
Triple for Suthirtha, Karia wins season's second


Agra, November 10: A right-handed compliment from one left-hander to another. That is what Gujarat’s Devesh Karia got from PSPB’s Abhishek Yadav when the latter put the ball on the net in the final of the men’s singles title in the LIC National Ranking (North Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Eklavya Indoor Stadium here today. The 4-3 victory for Karia, second this season, was worth Rs. 66,000 in cash.


In the final that went down to the wire, Abhishek was going for those down-the-line winners and clever placing while Karia concentrated more on acute angle winners. The final, contested in equal measure, kept everyone glued to the show court. It also saw several long rallies and good points earned and there was hardly a dull moment. There was fine display of excellent use of flanks, angles with no dearth of blistering strokes.


In the decider, Karia was leading but for the first time Abhishek took lead at 5-4. However, there were several surprises in store for both as the game went endlessly with several deuces. Abhishek had his chance at 15-14 with serve on. But he goofed it up and Devesh, receiving service at 16-15, returned so well that Abhishek’s shot just hit the net remain on his side of the table.


Suthirtha Mukherjee achieved a three-in-a-row feat, beating Mouma Das 4-3 in the women’s singles final. Mouma led 2-0 lead with rhythm on her side. But Suthirtha, with only backhand working for her, picked herself up well to go 3-2 up easily. Yet, the veteran was not prepared to give up and won the six game 11-9 to give her another chance. However, Suthirtha led 6-4 before Mouma went 6-5 for the first time in the decider. In a turnaround Suthirtha benefited with two negative points and from there romped home winner to pocket Rs. 55,000. Mouma had to be content with just half the amount.


Double for Archana


Archana Kamath completed a double when she claimed the Youth Girls title beating PSPB’s Reeth Rishya 4-2. Archana, coming straight from Georgetown, Barbados, after having competed and been part of the Asian squad at the World Cadet Challenge, ran into an excellent form after subduing Manika Batra in the quarters. From there, the 15-year-old never looked back and won both the sub-junior and Youth titles for a rare double. But Reeth was struggling to find her feet despite coming back and levelling the score 2-2. Archana just turned it on from the fifth and completed in style taking the sixth and the match when Reeth sent a speedy return outside.


The Abhishek-Sudhanshu final in Youth Boys saw excellent rallies, tough fight and some moments of brilliant stroke-playing from both. But in the end, it was the in-form Abhishek Yadav who annexed the title. “It was a nice warm-up before the men’s singles final,” said the left-hander even as he gave credit to his former Academy teammate Sudhanshu Grover.


In women’s semifinals, Suthirtha Mukherjee should consider herself lucky to have beaten Ankita Das despite the momentum was with the latter. In the second semifinal, Mouma was stuttering a bit but Divya Deshpande, too, was not at ease. But eventually Mouma came into her zone and went past her rival. As for Youth Boys singles semifinals, there was never any doubt either Abhishek or Sudhanshu Grover as both of them scored an identical 4-1 triumphs over Birdie Boro of PSPBA and Siddesh Pandey of Air India. In Youth Girls, Karnataka’s Archana Kamath had very little threat from AAI’s Priyadarshini Das—the former won 4-0—PSPB’s Reeth Rishya was a picture of struggle against Ayhika Mukherjee. However, Reeth overcame her own inhibition to beat Ayhika 4-2.


The Results:


Men’s Singles: Final: Devesh Karia (Guj) bt Abhishek Yadav 4-3 (7-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 3-11, 11-9, 17-15.


Women’s Singles: Final: Suthirtha Mukherjee (PSPB) bt Mouma Das (PSPB) 4-3 (7-11, 12-14, 11-4, 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6); Semifinals: Suthirtha Mukherjee bt Ankita Das (PSPB) 4-2 (6-11, 11-4, 13-11, 2-11, 11-8, 11-8), Mouma Das bt Divya Deshpande (PSPB) 4-2 (11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6).


Youth Boys Singles: Final: Abhishek Yadav (PSPB) bt Sudhanshu Grover (PSPBA) 4-2 (12-10, 12-10, 6-11, 5-11, 11-7, 14-12); Semifinals: Abhishek Yadav bt Birdie Boro (PSPBA) 4-1 (11-4, 12-10, 4-11, 11-9, 11-4), Sudhanshu Grover bt Siddhesh Pande (AI) 4-1 (11-2, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6).


Youth Girls Singles: Final: Archana Kamath (KNT) bt Reeth Rishya (PSPB) 4-2 (11-6, 11-4, 4-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-3); Semifinals: Archana Kamath bt Priyadarshini Das (AAI) 4-0 (11-8, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5), Reeth Rishya bt Ayhika Mukherjee (AAI) 4-2 (11-9, 6-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7).