Event Section
Manav comes of age, Manika wrests crown


Greater Noida, November 9: Manav Thakkar, the 17-year-old, became a man today when he outplayed RBI’s Raj Mondal 4-1 to win the men singles title—his first in the 11Sports National Ranking Championships (North) at the Gautam Buddha University hall here today.


The victory was worth Rs. 70,000 in cash prize. And just before that, Manika Batra scored a laboured 4-3 win over Divya Deshpande to wrest women singles crown and pocked Rs. 60,000 for her effort. It was so close and yet so far for Divya, who has a lone national ranking title from the Central Zone win at Jamnagar in 2015.


Manav, who lost in Youth Boys’ pre-quarterfinal, was in no mood this time to let the opportunity slip off his hands. Despite getting thrashed in the second game 1-11, Manav won the third held on his fourth game point and from there he was a possessed person to slaughter his RBI opponent, who saw a great chance of converting his final entry into a dream singles title.


But that was not to be as Manav piled on the agony of Raj who could not do what he did against Sushmit Sriram in the semi-final earlier in the day.


“I am happy I could win this time. I had missed the opportunity on an earlier occasion after reaching the final. But today I was determined,” said Manav after his memorable victory.  


The second title this season may have resurrected Manika’s sagging morale but the final win against Divya Deshpande lacked authority. No doubt, the lanky Delhi girl was lucky to come back from a precarious position, twice over on the same day, and beat the stuffing out of Divya, who was well on course with a 2-0 lead and 3-2 lead. But Manika infused life into the dull match through exciting drives and a good of her forehand, interspersed with some fine rallies, in the last game as she had conserved her energy for it.  



If Sushmit Sriram knows how to lose a match from winning position, opposite was the case with Raj Mondal, seeded fifth. Absolutely playing in an uncharacteristic way, Raj was staring at an imminent defeat in the semi-final when Sushmit led 3-0 and 6-3 and then 9-7 in the fourth game. But Raj suddenly opened out to surprise his opponent who was all set to celebrate his maiden final entry.


Winning his first game 11-9, Raj found a new vigour and went on to unsettle a well-settled Sushmit. Growing in confidence and going from strength to strength, Raj inched his way closer, much to the chagrin of Sushmit, to enter final with a 4-3 triumph. Never able to recover from the Raj onslaught, the AAI lad wilted and as he found to his misery all those shots that took him closer to final deserting him slowly but surely. Unfortunately, it was not Sushmit’s day and the Chennai lad will go back home ruing about spilling a golden opportunity.


Manav had to bring out his best after he was down 1-2 and 4-7 in the fourth game against second seed Arjun Ghosh, who was in a ramping mood. The fourth-seed Manav, carrying a cool head on his thin shoulders, regrouped himself to level score and then just stop the West Bengal rival then and there.


Divya Deshpande, who promised a lot but never consistent, was on a roll in the semi-final today against Mousumi Paul to win 4-1. But Manika Batra made a rough weather of a possible 3-1 situation before overcoming second seed Sutirtha Mukherjee. However, contrary to expectations, the West Bengal girl went 3-2 up. Waking early she controlled the game well and with consistent attack on Sutirtha’s week forehand surged her way up and levelled 3-3. This upset second seed’s rhythm so much that the decider became a one-sided affair which the third seed PSPB girl won with a lot to spare.




In Youth Girls, Prapti Sen beat Naina 4-0 to take home the winner’s trophy which she had to share as joint winners in the East Zone championships at Siliguri after the final could not be held as players, who were part of the WJC Indian Open, had to catch their flight to Delhi.


Prapti hardly dropped a sweat against Naina, the surprise finalist, as the Telangana girl proved no match to the West Bengal paddler.  


Siddesh Pande of Maharashtra had to muster all courage and experience to outsmart West Bengal’s Ronit Bhanja in Youth Boys final for his maiden title. Siddesh, who has a Junior Boys gold won at Thane, a couple of seasons ago came of age to win the thriller 4-3, the last three games getting extended with 2-1 in favour of the Maharashtra boy. Ronit, despite going 3-2 up, could not match the determination of Siddesh who brilliantly converted all crucial points to his advantage.




MenFinal: Manav Thakkar (Pet) bt Raj Mondal (RBI) 11-5,1-11, 16-14, 11-8, 11-8.


Semi-finals: Raj Mondal bt Sushmit Sriram (AAI) 2-11, 7-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7, 11-3; Manav Thakkat bt Arjun Ghosh (WB) 6-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7.


Women: Final: Manika Batra (Pet) bt Divya Deshpande (Pet) 8-11,9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9.


Semi-finals: Divya Deshpande bt Mousumi Paul (Pet) 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9; Manika Batra bt Sutirtha Mukherjee (WB) 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 12-14, 4-11, 11-6, 11-2.


Youth BoysFinal: Siddesh Pande (MHR) bt Ronit Bhanja (WB) 11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 10-12, 12-10, 12-10.


Semi-finals:Ronit Bhanja bt Parth Virmani (DLI) 11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5; Siddhesh Pande bt Jeet Chandra (WB) 11-9, 11-7, 11-9, 3-11, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9.


Youth GirlsFinal: Prapti Sen (WB) bt (TELG) 11-7, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6.


Semi-finals: Prapti Sen bt Ayhika Mukherjee (RBI) 8-11, 14-12, 11-8, 8-11, 13-11, 13-11; Naina (bt Shruti Amrute (MHR) 9-11, 11-5, 2-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5.