Event Section
Soham sends Arjun packing, other seeds sail through


Shillong, April 23: Entering the Round of 64 for the first time, Soham Bhattacharya did the unexpected. The Kerala paddler upset the Railways Arjun Ghosh 4-3 in the men’s singles of the 83rd Senior National and Inter-State Table Tennis Championships at the SAI Indoor Stadium here today.


Ninth-seed Arjun Ghosh, placed comfortably at 3-1, looked cruising. However, a rejuvenated Soham attacked and mounted pressure on Arjun. It paid rich dividends as the Kerala paddler took the next three games on the trot to emerge winners.


But for this early upset, a few other matches went by along the expected lines. Top-seed A. Sharath Kamal walked into the round of 32, but Sathiyan faced some resistance from unseeded Anirban Nandi, who managed to take two games off him. But Sathiyan won 4-3.


In other interesting matches, Vansh Singhal from Haryana defeated another Railman, Ravindra Kotiyan, 4-3, RBI’s Raj Modal struggled to overcome Vidi Desai of Gujarat 4-2, K.J. Akash of Karnataka accounted for Delhi’s Payas Jain 4-3.


But all the women seeds were intact despite top-seeded Manika Batra getting a scare from Riti Shankar of Haryana.  


Manika had her task cut out against unseeded Riti Shankar of Haryana in the women’s singles. Trailing 0-2, Manika was on the brink in the third at 9-9. But her experience in tackling such situations came in handy as the Haryana woman failed to press home the advantage. Seizing the moment, she drew the first blood and levelled the score in the next. After that, the round of 64 matches went only one way, and Manika upped the ante to surge into the lead and complete the task in style.


In another match involving two unseeded players, Trisha Gogoi and Deepika Neelakandan of TNTTA, the Assam girl emerged winners, taking the last two games. Deepika levelled at 2-2 and wilted under pressure when Trisha attacked well. But young Jennifer Varghese from Maharashtra fought back nicely to put Bengal’s Moumita Dutta under enormous pressure. But the senior pro came good in the decider, wrapping up the match 4-3.


Krittwika Sinha Roy of PSPB struggled before overcoming TNTTA’s Vidya Narasimhan 4-2, and Maharashtra’s Risha Mirchandani had to win her last two games to outsmart Vedhalakshmi Devi, also from TNTTA. Takeme Sarkar had a tough time countering Shailu Noorbasha of MC and IT. Eventually, the Railways woman won 4-2 to enter the round of 32.


However, Diya Chitale’s 4-3 win over Divya Deshpande of PSPB caught everybody’s new selectors' attention. The Maharashtra girl was in cruise mode and led 3-1. But Divya came back strongly to level 3-3, taking the issue to the decider. In the crucial last game, Diya thrashed her rival to win 4-3.


But of the other easy outings, former national champion Mouma Das’s 4-0 win over Puja Pal of Bengal drew a lot of praise. Playing her first match after motherhood, Mouma showed her class and character. Puja, a good player, was made a mute spectator by Mouma.


Important Results:


Men’s Singles (R-64): Soham Bhattacharya (Ker) bt Arjun Ghosh (RSPB) 4-11, 10-12, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9, Shub goel (Del) bt Harsh Srivastava (Raj) 11-9, 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 9-11, 11-8, Sourav Saha (Har) bt Sarthak Gandhi (Har) 11-13, 11-5, 11-9, 11-4, 7-11, 11-6, Akash pal (RSPB) bt Siddhesh Pande (Mah) 11-5, 8-11, 11-13, 13-11, 4-11, 11-3, 12-10, Nitin Thiruvengadam (BBSCB) bt Surajit Das (ESIC) 11-9, 11-8, 16-14, 5-11, 7-11, 11-7.


Women’s Singles (R-64): Manika Batra (PSPB) bt Riti Shankar (Har) 6-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7, 11-1, Trisha Gogoi (Asm) bt Deepika N (TNTTA) 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, Moumita Dutta (Ben) bt Jennifer Varghese (Mah) 11-6, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-13, 9-11, 11-6, Krittwika Sinha Roy (PSPB) bt Vidya Narasimhan (TNTTA) 12-10, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8, Risha Mirchandani (Mah) bt Vedhalakshmi Devi (TNTTA) 11-9, 8-11, 4-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, Takeme Sarmar (RSPB) bt Shailu Noorbasha (MC&IT) 2-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 11-4, Anusha Kutumbale (MP) bt Charvi Kawle (FCI) 11-2, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 4-11, 11-5, Shruti Amrute (RSPB) bt Cenhora D’Souza (Mah) 11-5, 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-13, 11-4, Diya Chitale (Mah) bt Divya Deshpande (PSPB) 13-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 5-11, 11-3.