Pune, October 8: Second seed Manika Batra was in disarray at 0-3, facing an inevitable defeat. But the immense self-belief she has developed in recent times brought out the best in her and a disappointed Ayhika Mukherjee had to bow out 3-4 to in quarterfinals of the 11Sports National Ranking (West Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Mhalunge-Balewadi Sports Complex here today.
Manika proved the stuffing she is made of as she first steadied herself and clinically demolished, taking complete control from game 4 to wrap it up. Of course, the course the two paddlers adopted looked pedestrian with fewer big shots as they were cautious in their approach. In the end, the experience of having played top players world stood Manika in good stead and the RBI girl had to throw in the towel earlier than she would have liked to. The other quarterfinals didn’t arouse the kind of interest this one did despite Sagarika’s 4-2 win over Pooja Sahasrabudhe. There was some fight that the fourth-seed put up but the Railways girl was getting her shots right and made fewer mistakes.
It was easy for Amalraj, Sharath Kamal and Sanil Shetty as they beat their opponents in straight games to move into the men singles semifinals while unseeded Anirban Ghosh accounted for second seed Sudhanshu Grover 4-2 to make him the thirteenth seeded players to join the exodus.
Earlier, after the exit of a dozen seeded players at various stages of the main draw, the only seeds that survived to reach the men singles quarterfinals were Anthony Amalraj, Sudhanshu Grover and Sanil Shetty, the No. 1, 2 and 3 seeds, and A. Sharath Kamal, the 13th seed.
There intense matches from the round of 32 and Siddesh Pande, the winner at Guwahati, lost to Vivek Bhargava of Rajasthan 2-4 last night as did 16th seed Abhishek Yadav to Sourav Saha of Haryana for a similar score. But Vivek defeated state mate Jubin in the pre-quarters, also 4-2 for a match-up with top-seed Amalraj in the next round.
In the second quarter of the draw, Harmeet Desai bowed out in R 32 as Karnataka’s Shreyal Telang send the fifth seed packing for a 11-3, 11-9, 10-12, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7 score. But before that Ronit Bhanja, seeded 12, lost his round of 64 matches 2-4 to Akash Pal of West Bengal and when Sharath Kamal beat fourth seed Arjun Ghosh 4-2, the division was complete. In the other half, Sougata Sarkar (14), SFR Snehit (11), Manush Shah (6), Sushmit Sriram (9) and Jeet Chandra (15) all made their way out—some with after putting up good fights while some tamely.
Amalraj led 2-0 but Sourav Saha levelled to give a scare before the top seed launched himself to win the pre-quarterfinals. But the fight between two paddlers form Haryana brought out the best in Vivek who proved superior to his senior pro. In a match of two unseeded players, the run of Shreyal Telang was stopped when I&AD’s Subash Mani cleaned up in straight games.
Sharath was down 0-2 but his experience stood him in good stead to beat Arjun Ghosh. But his round of 32 last night was even more exiting as his unseeded opponent, Sanish Ambekar from Maharashtra, wore him down to first level at 3-3—he was trailing 1-3—and then lead 4-0, 5-1 and 8-3. But the world No. 31 was up to the challenge and went on to win the decider much to the disappointment of young Sanish. Sharath won 12-10, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 12-14, 8-11, 11-9.
Birdie Boro of Assam had a good outing against Manu Shah in the pre-quarterfinals and sustained well despite the threat from the Guajarat left-hander to win 4-2.
In contrast, top-seed Sutirtha Mukherjee went down 3-4 to Priyadarsini Das last night and Prapti Sen, seeded 6, too bowed out losing her round of 32 matches to Senhora D’Souza 2-4. But for these two seeds’ exit, other seeds made it to the pre-quarterfinals.
Women: Quarterfinals: Divya Deshpande bt Selenadeepthi Selvakumar (TN) 11-2, 4-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-8, Sagarika Mukherjee bt Pooja Sahasrabudhe (PSPB) 11-7, 11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 14-16, 11-4, Madhurika Patkar bt Reeth Rishya (PSPB) 6-11, 11-6, 11-9, 13-11, 11-9, Manika Batra bt Ayhika Mukherjee (RBI) 6-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-6, 11-7; Pre-quarterfinals: Selenadeepthi Selvakumar bt Priyadarsini Das (RBI) 11-2, 4-11, 16-14, 12-10, 13-11, Divya Deshpande bt Krittwika Sinha Roy (WB) 11-5, 11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, Sagarika Mukherjee bt Poymantee Baisya (WB) 14-12, 6-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-6, Pooja Sahasrabudhe bt Surbhi Patwari (WBI 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-6, Madhurika Patkar bt Sreeja Akula (RBI) 11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 18-16, Reeth Risya bt Senhora D’Souza (DB) 5-11, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 11-5, Ayhika Mukherjee bt Anindita Chakraborty (RSPB) 11-5, 11-7, 11-3, 11-9, Manika Batra bt Mallika Bhandarkar (AAI) 1-9, 12-10, 12-10, 12-10.
Men: Quarterfinals: A. Amalraj bt Vivek Bhargava (Raj) 11-9, 12-10, 11-5, 11-6, A. Sharath Kamal bt Subash Mani (I&AD) 13-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9, Sanil Shetty bt Birdie Boro (Asm) 11-9, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7, Anirban Ghosh bt Sudhanshu Grover (PSPB) 11-3, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6; Pre-quarterfinals: A. Amalraj bt Sourav Saha (Har) 11-6, 11-2, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, Vivek Bhargava bt Jubin Kumar (Har) 6-11, 11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10, Subash Mani bt Shreyal Telang (Kar) 11-9, 23-21, 11-6, 11-7, A. Sharath Kamal bt Arjun Ghosh (AAI) 9-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6, Sanil Shtty bt Parth Virmani (Del) 13-11, 3-11, 3-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8, Birdie Boro bt Raegan Albuquerque (Mah) 13-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10, Anirban Ghosh bt Sushmit Sriram (AAI) 9-11, 11-3, 13-11, 11-4, 11-1, Sudhanshu Grover bt Jeet Chandra 11-4, 11-6, 13-11, 5-11,9-11, 11-5.
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