Event Section
Sharath shows class and Madhurika hits groove


Pune, October 9: Reigning national champion A. Sharath Kamal and former national champion Madhurika Patkar would be immensely happy to have ended the zonal season on a winning note, taking the men and women singles crowns in the 11Sports National Ranking (West Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Mhalunge-Balewadi Sports Complex here today.


Sharath took just 25 minutes to dispose of final opponent Anirban Ghosh of AAI 4-0 and Madhurika finally arrested the dry spell to beat Divya Deshpande 4-2 in her final. Incidentally, they were the first titles for both this season.


Sharath has had an up-and-down run-up to the final but once he was there, he ensured he won it with authority. Taking complete control from game 1, he demolished the young Anirban, who had done to reach the final. “I needed this victory,” said the 36-year-old, whose exploits this year in the CWG and Asian Games need no repetition. But what his words reiterated was the hunger in his underbelly, the desire to win more and more titles, national or international.  


Despite hitting a purple patch in the tournament, she was 0-2 down against Divya Deshpande but mustered courage to take the next four games in her own inimitable style—his forehands were as powerful as the backhands. Divya somewhat lost her way after taking a comfortable lead and could not overcome the mental block, particularly in the fifth game which was anybody’s game. When Madhurika won 12-10, it was almost curtains for Divya as she wrapped up the next in double quick time.


Gujarat’s Manush Shah, making of the absence of his bête noire, Manav Thakkar, defeated Jeet Chandra of Haryan 4-0 to claim the Youth Boys title while Sreeja Akula denied Prapti Sen another Youth Girls title as the RBI girl won 4-3 in a tough final. Sreeja clinched the decider on extended points after it was 10-all.


Manika could not repeat yesterday’s form and was easily subdued by Madhurika Patkar, who hit her purple patch in the tournament. Manika managed to win her opening game in the semifinals but could not add to the solitary point that she got in the second. She, however, fought well in the third to stay in the match but Madhurika claimed crucial points after deuce to go 2-1 up. And Manika took another game before a confidence personified Madhurika ran riot to enter the final.


In the other semifinal, Sagarika Mukherjee was no match to her rival Divya Deshpande as the latter just dropped a game before pulling herself up to reach the final. Divya played percentage game and her free-flowing shots on both flanks left the Railways girl dumbfounded.   


Sharath, like yesterday, took some time before settling down and overcome a 0-2 deficit and then going up 3-2. Amalraj did all he could to come back and even took a game off him. But then the wily Sharath played a superb endgame—he was trailing 4-8 and then 8-10—to win the decider on extended points. On the other hand, Sanil Shetty fought back well from 1-3 to level 3-3 but Anirban Ghosh, running a decent lead in the sixth game, was well ahead of the PSPB lefthander. Aniban clinched the crucial two points to stop him at nine.


In Youth Boys semifinals Jeet Chandra from Haryana had to last the full course against his West Bengal rival and first-timer Kiranjoy Pushilal to win 4-3 while Manush Shah, trailing 4-8 in the decider, knocked Payas Jain, denying the Delhi boy yet another shot at the title. Payas, probably tiring, made a few crucial errors that cost him another final this season.


In Youth Girls, Sreeja Akula and Prapti Sen moved into the final, both having to endure longer resistance from their opponents Surbhi Patwari and Selenadeethi Selvakumar.






WomenFinal: Madhurika Patkar (PSPB) bt Divya Deshpande ((PSPB) 7-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5;Semifinals: Divya Deshpande bt Sagarika Mukherjee (RSPB) 11-6, 11-7, 11-1, 9-11, 11-6; Madhurika Patkar bt Manika Batra (PSPB) 10-12, 11-1, 13-11, 6-11, 11-9, 12-10.


MenFinal: A. Sharath Kamal (PSPB) bt Anirban Ghosh (AAI) 11-6, 11-8, 11-3, 11-5; Semifinals:  Sharath Kamal bt A. Amalraj (PSPB) 12-14, 7-11, 11-9, 14-12, 11-7, 9-11, 13-11; Anirban Ghosh bt Sanil Shetty (PSPB) 11-9, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9.


Youth GirlsFinal: Sreeja Akula (RBI) bt Prapti Sen (WB) 11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 14-16, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10;Semifinals: Sreeja Akula bt Surbhi Patwari (WB) 9-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-5, 14-12, 11-5; Prapti Sen bt Selenadeepthi Selvakuar (AAI) 11-8, 5-11, 7-11, 11-3, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8.


Youth BoysFinal: Manush Shah (Guj) bt Jeet Chandra (Har) 11-6, 12-10, 12-10, 13-11; Semifinals: Jeet Chandra bt Kiranjoy Pushilal (WB) 9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6; Manush Shah bt Payas Jain (Del) 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-9, 13-15, 11-8.