Event Section
Double blow for Maharashtra; TN girls thrive


Dharamshala, November 25: After Assam had upset Kerala in group stages on Tuesday it was Tamil Nadu Youth Girls’ turn to send second-seeded Maharashtra packing in pre-quarterfinals of the 77th Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships at the Indoor Stadium here today.


The more humiliating aspect of last year’s finalist was the way they were blanked out, making a mockery of the second stage draw. In fact, the Tamil Nadu girls were not in high spirits when they were drawn against Maharashtra. However, the 3-0 triumph over a tough opponent must have restored the TN team’s confidence.


Selenadeepthi Selvakumar comfortably beat Senhora D’Souza 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7 to give Tamil Nadu 1-0 lead. Then Amrutha Pushpak, who struggled in group stage matches, overcame a stiff resistance from Manushree Patil 13-11, 8-11, 11-8, 15-17, 11-6. Manushree, twice title winner in the junior section this season, played really well to draw level in the fourth game, but visibly drained out by the time they were in the decider. Amrutha, with her experience, outwitted her rival to put TN 2-0 up. Abhinaya Ramesh accounted for Rutuja Khopkar in straight games of 11-6, 11-7, 12-10 to make it a simple affair for her team.


Even their second team, Maharashtra B too bowed out, losing to Telangana 2-3, despite Shruti Amrute winning both her singles against Naina and Varuni Jaiswal. The two Telangana girls nicely targeted Dyuti Patki in their singles and the third girl Manasi Chiplunkar was taken care of by Telangana’s Monica Manohar.


Kushi Viswanath fashioned Karnataka’s quarterfinal entry, beating Rajasthan’s top girl Priyanka Pareek in the first singles. From there, it was easy for Karnataka to roll over their rivals 3-0 with Spoorthy and Samyukta doing their job even as North Bengal struggled to beat Haryana 3-2.


In Youth Boys pre-quarters, Uttar Pradesh overcame a determined Gujarat 3-2. Manush Shah, who had two national ranking titles this season, was the star player for Gujarat but he could not except winning both his singles as Soham Pandya and Ishaan Hingorani failed to put up a similar show in their singles. In contrast, all three players—Abhinav Belwal, Sarthak Seth and Arjun Kohli—won a match each to take the team to the quarters where they will take on….


The other two interesting matches in the Youth Boys category were between Tamil Nadu and Mizoram, the former winning 3-2, Anandh Raj Rajan doing the star turn for the winners. He won both his singles to put the issue beyond the grasp of Mizoram. In the other match, Dena Bank defeated Telangana 3-1 but the winners took 135 minutes to reach the quarters. Shreyal Telang won both his matches against Sridhar Harikrishna and Snehit Suravajjula while Akshay Mahanta beat Saroj Siril. The only blip was Harsh sachnandani who lost 2-3 to Snehit in the first singles.





Youth Girls (PQF): AAI bt Himachal Pradesh 3-0, West Bengal bt Gujarat 3-0, Delhi bt Assam 3-0, Telangana bt Maharasshtra B 3-2, North Bengal bt Haryana 3-2, Uttar Pradesh bt Pondicherry 3-0, Tamil Nadu bt Maharashtra A 3-0, Karnataka bt Rajasthan 3-0.


Youth Boys (PQF): Maharashtra A bt Bihar 3-0, West Bengal bt Madhya Pradesh 3-0, Rajasthan bt North Bengal 3-0, Delhi bt Punjab 3-0, Maharashtra B bt Karnataka 3-1, Uttar Pradesh bt Gujarat 3-2, Tamil Nadu bt Mizoram 3-2, Dena Bank bt Telangana 3-1.


Meanwhile, the Junior Boys and Junior Girls pre-quarterfinals have begun and the quarterfinals in all the sections will be played tonight.  




Staring at an early exit




West Bengal team is slated to meet North Bengal in the Junior Girls section following the open draw this afternoon. In other words, one of the Bengals will exit in the pre-quarterfinals itself. Though the other teams in fray may approve of the draw in which one team goes out early, it will somewhat take glitter off the event as everyone would wish good teams to travel the maximum distance. In other draws, top-seed Telangana will take on UP, second seed Maharashtra A will face Karnataka; third seed Maharashtra B play Rajasthan, another interesting match in offing, and Punjab meet Andhra Pradesh. Delhi meet Odisha, Kerala encounter Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu lock horn with Haryana.


In Junior Boys, Maharashtra A got the pride of place and will be playing Tamil Nadu in the pre-quarterfinals. Karnataka meet Kerala, Telangana take on Maharashtra B and Haryana will clash with West Bengal in the top-half draw.


As for the bottom half, second seed Delhi take on Goa, PSPBA will play Chandigarh, North Bengal lock horn with Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat meet Rajasthan.