Pune, October 10: Manush Shah of Gujarat and Raegan Albuquerque of Maharashtra have met each other in Junior Boys final four times this season, with Raegan having an upper hand on the title and prize money share.
On the penultimate day of the 11Sports National Ranking (West Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Mhalunge-Balewadi Sports Complex here, the onus was on entirely Manush Shah to ensure that he didn’t lose his grip on the trophy this time and shared the cash prizes in equal proportions. The Gujarat lad did precisely that when he beat Raegan 4-3 in the fight-to-finish final.
But Prpati Sen of West Bengal, taking on Anusha Kutambale of Madhya Pradesh for the second time in a final this year, made the Junior Girls trophy her own, downing her rival 4-2
Both finals kept everyone on the edge of the seat, but the entire attention was riveted on the show-court where Manush and Raegan were playing.
The winner at Panchkula (North Zone) was more desperate and the onus was on him to push Raegan, a good player with full of strokes, to the brink. That’s what the left-hander did despite having a bad opening and leading 2-1. But the Maharashtra boy recovered well to challenge his authority and go 3-2 up. An under pressure Manush was facing a situation similar to the one at Guwahati and Indore.
But getting his composure back in time Manush inched his way up and stopped Raegan way out of reach in the sixth game. It set up the Gujarat boy in a better frame of mind as he stepped on the gas pedal, forcing Raegan to committing unforced mistakes. The negative points Manush earned hastened the outcome as he closed in on fast and furious.
“It was a tough final and the sixth game was crucial because he (Raegan) was playing really well. But the win gave me the confidence and I could wrap it up quickly,” said the Gujarat lad.
The Prapti-Anusha showdown was nothing new—the two had met each other at Indore (Central Zone) and Anusha had won the final at home. The West Bengal girl, who was a runner-up at Guwahati (East Zone) after having won her first crown at Vijayawada (South Zone), was keen to add one more to the cupboard.
So was the case with Anusha. But the opening game of the final probably took Prapti’s confidence to a new level and it was evident when she won the next game with a lot of ease. However, the MP girl fought back well to win the next two. Nevertheless, Prapti who missed out on the Youth Girls title here was more determined and it showed in her fifth and sixth games.
Prapti was on a different zone as she not only got her shots right but some of those forehands had enormous power packed into them. Anusha was founding wanting when she needed to be more careful, eventually losing the grip.
Junior Girls: Final: Prapti Sen (WB) bt Anusha Kutumbale (MP) 14-12, 11-3, 9-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-3; Semifinals: Prapti Sen bt Manushree Patil (Mah) 11-9, 11-9, 11-3, 11-5; Anusha Kutumbale bt Nikita Sarkar (NB) 6-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-1, 11-7.
Junior Boys: Final: Manush Shah (Guj) bt Raegan Albuquerque (Mah) 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-7; Semifinals: Raegan Albuquerque bt Payas Jain (Del) 5-11, 6-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7; Manush Shah bt Deepit R. Patil (Mah) 11-4, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9.
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