Rajahmundry, December 23: Maharashtra A and Uttar Pradesh had to bring out their best to outwit their rivals Madhya Pradesh and Goa and enter the sub-junior girls quarterfinals of the 76th Cadet and Sub-Junior National Table Tennis Championships at the Cherukuri Convention Centre here today.
UP downed MP 3-2 in the top half and Maharashtra A overcame Goa by the same margin in the bottom. The other quarterfinal winners included Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Telangana, Delhi, Karnataka and West Bengal.
The quarterfinal matches in all sections will be played later tonight with the semifinals and finals slated for tomorrow.
Madhya Pradesh played as well as they could have done but in the end it was UP that emerged the winners, thanks to Anusha Kutumbale who had to share the major burden. Not only did she win both her singles, first against MP’s Suhana Narjinary 3-2, but also against Saundarya Pathak (3-1). She and her partner Khushi Jain, however, lost their doubles, which pushed the match down to the wire. Suhana beat Khushi 11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9 in the crucial decider that clinched it in favaour of UP.
As for Maharashtra A, they were down 1-2 after they lost the doubles and it was left to Srushti Haleangadi and Payal Bohra to put their best foot forward to get them back into shape. After Shrusti won the first singles against Urmila Mense 3-0, Tansi Kirtani restored parity by winning her singles against Payal Bohra 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7. Then she combined with Urmila to take the doubles against the Maharashtra pair to go 2-1 up. But Shrushti beat Tanisi in straight games and Payal downed Urmila in her reverse singles to cross the line.
But for these two matches, the other pre-quarterfinals were more or less one-sided with the fancied teams making the grade.
In Cadet Girls, Assam was scratched despite the team entering the quarterfinals by upsetting Maharashtra B 3-1 in the pre-quarterfinals. Trisha Gogoi, who did the star turn for Assam, won both her singles and then combed with Abrita Bhuyan to clinch the doubles. For Maharashtra A, only Kheya Shah was able to win her singles against Abrita 7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 14-12. But Trisha, having submitted two date of birth certificates—in both cases she was an eligible candidate to play in the Cadet section—the team was punished by the competition manager Ganeshan Neelakanta Iyer.
“This girl had registered with the TTFI with two birth certificates. As a policy decision and as per our guidelines, she has to be instantly penalized. That’s what we have done in this case,” said Ganeshan.
“Because this tantamount to cheating, we have scratched the Assam team. So Maharashtra B will go through to the quarterfinals instead,” he added.
Meanwhile, the other teams that went through were Gujarat, Delhi, Maharashtra A, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Of all the pre-quarterfinals in Cadet Boys’ section, the one between Telangana and North Bengal went the full distance with the former winning the match 3-2, thanks to A. Advait’s fine performance in the decider. The match was hanging in balance after the fourth rubber which Telangana won when Varun Shankar blanked out Jayabrata Bhattacharjee 3-0. This win must have given confidence to Advait as he overcame a 1-2 deficit to win 11-8, 9-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8 to take his take into the quarterfinals.
The other winners to join Telangana in fray were UP, Kerala, PSPBA, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra A and Delhi.
There were no surprises in the sub-junior boys’ category as PSPBA, Maharashtra A, Delhi, Gujarat, UP, Goa, Telangana and Tamil Nadu posted easy wins over their rivals to enter the quarterfinals.
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