Category: Table Tennis

7 out of 7: Indians complete golden sweep

Cuttack, July 22: Indian paddlers made most of the ‘home’ advantage and grabbed all the gold medals—seven to be precise—in the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships which concluded at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium here today.

G. Sathiyan was expected to lead the individual medal tally but could not surmount the rampaging Harmeet Desai as he faltered when it mattered the most against the 26-year-old Desai, who brought India from the brink to help it win team gold, yet again proved his mettle in the singles final.

But the best thing happen at the championships was that no individual could replicate the gold-winning performance in other events.

The domination of our paddlers at the championships could be gauged from the fact that all finals today featured only the Indians, making it more of a national event than an international one. In the final analysis, India won seven gold—the best ever haul—five silver and three bronze medals to be the table toppers.

Indeed, no one deserved to lose the singles final, but Desai deserved more to win the title. After being in arrears (0-2), he brought out the best in a crunch situation to outwit favourites Sathiyan. A particular rally in the fourth game which brought a winning point to Desai must have been really demoralizing for Sathiyan. Equally important was the win by the Surat boy in the next which kept lingering until he sealed it 17-15. No doubt, Sathiyan made it 3-3 after trailing for the first time, but the Gujarat lad played a great game to wrap it up in the decider.

Earlier, Sathiyan and Sharath Kamal failed to counter the fury of Anthony Amalraj and Manav Thakkar who claimed the men doubles gold, downing the top pair 3-1, after the Indians had banished the Singpore and England pairs, respectively, in the semifinals.

In women singles, Ayhika Mukherjee seized the great opportunity to win her maiden gold in the championships when she blanked out Madurika Patkar 4-0. Madhurika, who was absolutely inert at least in the first three games despite her attaching posture. But Ayhika was clever enough to take pace off the ball, forcing her opponent make all mistakes. The former national champion showed glimpse of a fight back but Ayhika, after frittering away three match-points, won the fourth for a well-deserved victory.

In fact, Madhurika also had some harrowing moments in the semifinal against Sreeja Akula. The little girl from Telangana matched Madhurika’s stroke, but could not do against the experience of her rival, particularly in the extended fifth game as Madhurika won 4-1 to seal her place. In the adjacent table, Ayhika put it across Ho Tin-Tin of England after dropping her third game to win by an identical margin.

In women doubles, Pooja Sahasrabudhe and Krittwika Sinha Roy defeated the other Indian pair of Sreeja Akula and Mousumi Paul 3-1. The pair had, in the semifinals, beaten the Singapore duo of Goi Rui Xuan & Wong Xin Ru in straight games, while Sreeja and Mousumi defeated the third Indian pair of Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ayhika Mukherjee, also by a 3-0 verdict.

The Results:  

Men SinglesFinal: Harmeet Desai bt G. Sathiyan 9-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 17-15, 7-11, 11-9; Semifinals: G. Sathiyan bt Thomas Jarvis (Eng) 16-14, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9; Harmeet Desai bt Pang Yu En Koen (Sgp) 10-12, 11-3, 11-6, 11-6, 11-2.

Women SinglesFinal: Ayhika Mukherjee bt Madhurika Patkar 11-6, 11-4, 11-9, 19-17; Semifinals: Ayhika Mukherjee bt Ho Tin-Tin (Eng) 11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 11-4; Madhurika Patkar bt Sreeja Akula 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 14-12.

Men DoublesFinal: A. Amalraj & Manav Thakkar bt A. Sharath Kamal & G. Sathiyan 8-11, 11-6, 13-11, 12-10; Semifinals: A. Sharath Kamal & G. Sathiyan bt Pang Yu En Koen & Chua Shao Han Josh (Sgp) 12-10, 11-4, 14-12; A. Amalraj & Manav Thakkar bt Samuel Walker & Thomas Jarvis (Eng) 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5.

Women DoublesFinal: Pooja Sahasrabudhe & Krtittwika Sinha Roy bt Sreeja Akula & Mousumi Paul 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10; Semifinals: Pooja Sahasrabudhe & Krtittwika Sinha Roy bt Goi Rui Xuan & Wong Xin Ru (Sgp) 11-7, 12-10, 11-9; Sreeja Akula & Mousumi Paul bt Sutirtha Mukherjee & Ayhika Mukherjee 11-8, 11-8, 11-6.

medal tally:                                                                                

India: 7 gold, 5 silver, 3 bronze

England: 2 silver, 3 bronze

Singapore: 6 bronze

Malaysia: 1 bronze

Nigeria: 1 bronze.

Sathiyan and Archana win mixed GOLD in Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships

Cuttack, July 21: India added another golden chapter to the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships when its mixed doubles pair of G. Sathiyan and Archana Kamath defeated Singapore’s Peng Yu En Koen–Goi Rui Xuan 3-0 in the final at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium here today.

The gold count, on the penultimate day of the championships, stands at three.

This had, in a way, avenged the earlier loss by the same Singaporean pair of A. Sharath Kamal and Sreeja Akula in the semifinal—the only gold missing from his closet—as well as the shock defeat of Sharth in men singles quarterfinal by Peng.

The Indian pair was on top in the final as they piled on the agony of their rivals, particularly on a tired Peng who could not cope with the pressure applied by the top-seeded duo who simply decimated them.

But second-seeded Sharath Kamal squandered three match points and then the quarterfinal match, shattering his men singles medal hope. Though Sharath failed to go past the semifinals in mixed doubles, he would definitely rue the singles loss to the younger legs of Peng which played a major role in the left-hander snatching victory from the jaws of defeat as he not only survived 1-3 deficits but also seized the advantage in the decider to enter the semifinals.

The other Indians that made grade included top-seeded G. Sathiyan, who beat Nigerian Bode Abiodun 4-0 and Harmeet Desai who accounted for fellow Indian Sushmit Sriram 4-1. Sanil Shetty joined Sharath when he went down to England’s Thomas Jarvis 1-4.

Earlier, top-seeded Ho Tin-Tin of England disposed of unseeded Archana Kamath, the reigning national champion, 4-1 to enter the women singles semifinals. But second-seeded Madhurika Patkar and fourth seed Ayhika Mukerjee easily followed the English woman in the last-four stages while in a marathon battle, Sreeja Akula defeated Sutirtha Mukherjee 4-2 even as Madhurika downed Krittiwika Sinha Roy 4-1 and Ayhika beat Mousumi Paul in straight games.

Archana, who played well until this point, was unable to find her feet against the attacking Ho who cashed in on several unforced errors committed by the Indian. After losing the first game, the Bengaluru girl came back to level 1-1 but lost her rhythm from there to lose tamely.

Madhurika had a good measure of Krittwika, the national runner-up and despite losing a game she punished her rival when the opportunities presented themselves. Indeed, Krittiwika had a slight advantage in the fourth game but lost it 10-12 and then the steam.  However, for Ayhika it was rather easy as Mousumi could not cope with her rival’s quick returns and excellent placements.

Two extended games must have sapped the energy of both Sreeja and Sutirtha but the former held her nerves despite squandering five match-points to romp home winners.

The scratch pair of Sharath Kamal and Sreeja Akula, in the absence of Manika Batra, had little problem up to the stage of semifinals. But once there, the mismatch became more palpable when the Indian duo took on Singapore’s Yu En Koen Pang and Rui Xuan Goi, who play together more regularly.

More often than not, Sharath had to plug the gaps that became a yawn as the match progress and Singaporeans made most of the situation. Despite taking the first game, the Indian duo came back strongly to take the next two and lead 2-1. But the Indians lost their way with Pang and Goi combining well to level the score and then complete the decider in double quick time, the Indian duo managing just four points.

In contrast, Sathiyan and Archana hardly dropped a sweat when they beat the other Indian pair of Harmeet Desai and Ayhika Mukherjee 3-0. In fact, the first two games got over in less than 10 minutes. Though Harmeet and Ayhika resisted a bit longer in the third but could not stop Sathiyan and Archana from progressing into the final.

In men doubles, two Indian pairs—Sharath and Sathiyan and Anthony Amalraj and Manav Thakkar—made it to the semifinals while the two other pairs that will challenge the Indian domination will be Pang Yu En and Chua Shao Han from Singapore and the English duo of Samuel Walker and Thomas Jarvis, respectively, tomorrow.

In women doubts, Pooja Sahasrabudhe and Krittiwika Singha Roy, Sreeja Akula and Mousumi Paul and Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ayhika Mukherjee entered the semifinal while the fourth pair, top-seeded Madhurika Patkar and Archana Kamath went down to Singapore’s Goi Rui Xuan and Won Xin Ru 2-3 (5-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 9-11) and missed the medal bus.

The ResultsFinal: G. Sathiyan-Archana Kamath bt Peng Yu En Koen–Goi Rui Xuan (SGP) 11-1, 11-7, 11-4; Semifinals: G. Sathiyan-Archana Kamath bt Harmeet Desai-Ayhika Mukherjee 11-2, 11-2, 11-9; Peng Yu En Koen–Goi Rui Xuan (SGP) bt Sharath Kamal-Sreeja Akula (IND) 13-11, 8-11, 6-11 11-8, 11-4.

Men SinglesQuarterfinals: G Sathiyan bt Bode Abiodun (NGR) 11-7, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6; Thomas Jarvis (Eng) bt Sanil Shetty 11-5, 11-8, 8-11, 13-11, 12-10; Harmeet Desai bt Sushmit Sriram 11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8; Pang Yu En Koen (SGP) bt Sharath Kamal 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10.

Women SinglesQuarterfinals: Ho Tin-Tin (Eng) bt Archana Kamath 11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6; Ayhika Mukherjee bt Mousumi Paul 11-6, 11-6, 11-2, 11-8; Sreeja Akula bt Sutirtha Mukherjee 11-5, 11-6, 11-9, 17-19, 6-11, 17-15; Madhurika Patkar bt Krittiwika Sinha Roy 11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9

PSPB, Haryana teams have grand opening at day 1 of Table Tennis Senior Nationals

Cuttack, January 4: Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSBP) men team, making a bold statement, almost ensured their berth in the pre-quarterfinals of the 80th edition of the 11Even Sports Senior National Table Tennis Championships which began at the Nehru Indoor Stadium here today.

It was a child’s play for the PSPB men who thrashed both Maharashtra B and Bihar with an identical 3-0 scores in the first two rounds from group A to sew up their place, with a match in hand against Sikkim later tonight.

So confident were the PSPB men that they had rested A. Sharath Kamal and with G. Sathiyan holding the beacon he, Anthony Amalraj and Manav Thakkar the team was guided into a position of strength. However, Sharath is expected to enter the fray in the match against Sikkim as he was seen warming up.

In their first round they thrashed Bihar as Sathiyan won 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 against Yogesh Mathuri to set the ball rolling. Amalraj followed it up with a 11-9, 11-6, 11-4 victory to PSPB 2-0, leaving Manav Thakkar to complete the job. He won 11-3, 11-3, 11-6 against Lekh Raj.

Then they accounted for Maharashtra B, with Sathiyan starting the proceedings against Js Dalvi (11-4, 11-7, 11-9) and Sudhanshu Grover completing it against Tanmay Rane (11-9, 11-9, 11-6). In between Amalraj took a game more to beat Faegan Albuquerque 11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 12-10.

Manika Batra led PSPB’s charge in women’s affair, beating Uttarakhand 3-0. Her victim was Vanshika Yadav who lost 7-11, 6-11, 4-11, while Madhurika Patkar beat Priyana Saha 11-3, 11-8, 11-5 with Archana Kamath downing Jyoti Bharti 11-2, 11-4, 11-3 in the one-sided first round.

With only one round having been gone through in women’s team events, the group leaders had secured their first wins to make a good beginning.

Maharashtra B, despite their loss to PSPB, looked the second team to make grade from the group, having beaten Sikkim 3-0 and they will be next taking on lowly Bihar in the last round.

Last year’s runner-up Haryana defeated both hosts Odisha 3-0 and followed it up with a win over Odisha, also a 3-0 verdict.  Opening with Jubin Kumar, Haryana won the first rubber beating Bikash Kumar Singh 11-5, 11-3, 11-2. Then the experienced Sourav Saha dropped the first game against Asif Haque but managed to pull it back with a 2-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 as Jeet Chandra finished the task with a 11-7, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 win over Snehamoy Mallick.

Later, playing the first rubber against Chhattisgarh, Jeet accounted for Santosh Araswilli 12-10, 11-7, 10-12, 11-9 before left-handed Jubin consolidating their lead with a 11-6, 11-6, 11-4 triumph over Sagar Ghatge as Sourav Saha beat Abhishek Raj 6-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5.

The teams that were in line for taking the top spot in each of the other groups were Gujarat in group C, who had won both their rounds, Tamil Nadu in group D, Maharashtra A, enjoying a walkover from Arunachal Pradesh were sitting pretty in group E, Railways in group F, West Bengal in group G and Delhi in group H. All of them have a match in hand as the last round will be played tonight before the main draw begins tomorrow morning.

Archana meets Chinese Yingsha in YOG semifinals

Pune, October 10: Archana Girish Kamath had to summon all her skills, energy and nerves to overcome Azerbaijan’s Nign Jing 13-11, 8-11, 6-11, 11-3, 6-11, 12-10, 11-7 to enter the semifinals of the 3rd Youth Olympics Games in Buenos Aires (Argentina).

In the semifinals, to be played later tonight, she takes on China’s Yingsha Sun. A win against will put her into the medal round straightaway, failing which the Indian will have a shot at the playoff for the bronze medal.

But the spectacular fight she put yesterday in the Argentina capital must have given her enough confidence for the semifinals against the Chinese.

After taking the extended first game, Archana was hit back by Ning Jing, a Chinese original players turning out for Azerbaijan, who went 2-1 up to mount pressure on the Indian. But Archana was up to the task and levelled 3-3 before dropping the next.

At this junction, the 18-year-old had to muster courage to keep her nerves calm and approach the match with composure. And she did it marvelously to first erase the deficit and in the decider, playing like a champion, she simply demolished her opponent.

“It was a tough match and she fought till the very end. So I am very happy that I could win. But credit should also go her because she played really well,” said Archana. Asked about her plans, she just smiled and added: I am very excited about the semifinals.”

Archana first Indian to enter YOG quarterfinals

Pune, October 9: Archana Girish Kamath became the first Indian to enter the quarterfinals in women singles at the 3rd Youth Olympics Games when she beat Hong Kong’s Lee Ka Yee 4-2 (14-12, 14-12, 9-11, 8-11, 12-10, 15-13) in Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Thus, Archana avenged her YOG qualifiers’ loss in the Road to Buenos Aires series held in the Czech Republic a couple of months before she finally made the grade in the last qualifiers held in Rarontonga, Cooks Islands, in June.

In the pre-quarterfinals that lasted 40 minutes, the 18-year-old paddler from Bengaluru won the tie on her second match-point to stop Lee on her tracks after she had staged a fine recovery from a 0-2 deficit.

In the quarterfinals, she will play Jing Ning from Azerbaijan, who beat Puerto Rican  Adriana Dais, tomorrow.

In the needle match, Archana had an upper hand despite the Hong Kong paddler was just separated by a couple of points to begin win. In the first two games, Archana held her nerves to outwit on her second game point, twice over.

But a determined Lee went into attacking mode right from the word go in the third game and that paid off as the Indian was pushed into the corner and was largely playing into her opponent’s hands. Probably upset by the loss, Archana was unable to keep the ball on the table which only helped Lee’s cause. Some crucial points also went the way of Lee to propel her.

But in the fifth, Archana regained control and led by a slender margin. At 10-10, it was anybody’s game but Archana held on to go up 3-2. And in the next, Archana surged into 5-2 lead but allowed her rival to come close at 8-7 when coach Soumyadeep Roy took time-out. But unfortunately, it didn’t help as Lee leveled 8-8 and then the game went 9-9 before Archana seizing the lead at 10-9.

Leet deuced and Archana was on her first match point at 11-10 only to let her opponent off the hook. But in the end, on her second chance she grabbed it with both hands to progress.

“It was a tense game with fortunes fluctuating. I should have won the match on the first chance but somehow managed to do it on the second occasion,” said an elated Archana.

On her next opponent, Archana said she and the coach will sit and strategise tomorrow. “We have to plan for tomorrow’s match and I have to carry today’s confidence into tomorrow’s quarterfinals,” she added.

Equally happy M.P. Singh, Secretary General of TTFI, sent his congratulatory message to Archana. “You did us all proud. Play the way you have been. You are just a step away from the medal round!” he said in his message.

Meanwhile, Manav Thakkar lost his pre-quarterfinals to Japanese Tomokazu Harmoto 4-1 to make his exit in the men singles event.

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.

Suthirtha escapes by the skin of her teeth in 11Sports National Ranking (West Zone) Table Tennis Championships

Pune, October 7: Top-seed and winner of South and East Zone titles had to really dig in to make a great escape and move into the second round of the women singles in the 11Sports National Ranking (West Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Mhalunge-Balewadi Sports Complex here today.

Her opponent Mamata Prabhu of Dena Bank on the verge of clinching the tie at 10-9 in the sixth game—she was leading 3-2 at that stage—but allowed the Haryana girl to wriggle herself out of the rut as she deuced and went on to win the game 12-10 and equal the score 3-3. From there, the team gold winner at the 2018 CWG was a changed player as she simply demolished the former India player 4-3.

In fact, the top-heavy half saw more such matches than the bottom half but all top eight seeds moved up without much hiccups.

In other interesting matches in the top half, Priyadarsini Das of RBI was stretched fully by Maria Ro of Canara Bank before the former winning the extended decider. Divya Deshpande, No. 8 seed, was in some discomfort before overcoming AAI’s Munmun Kundu to win 4-2.

Among the seeded players, No. 2 Manika Batra beat Vanshika Bhargava of Delhi 11-9, 11-6, 11-4, 12-10. But the little put up a good resistance to stretch her in the fourth game. However, it was easy for Pooja Sahasrabudhe, the fourth seed, against Tamil Nadu’s Shanmathi Sathyamoorthy, winning the match 11-5, 11-2, 11-8, 11-7.

Among men seeds, ninth seed Jubin Kumar was staring at an imminent defeat against Gujarat’s Jignesh Jaiswal, the oldest player in fray, at 1-3. But the left-handed picked up nicely to take the last three games and move into the next round. Probably, the old legs could not sustain the pressure unleashed by the Haryana man.

But it was rather surprising to see Tamil Nadu’s Ananth Devaraj losing to youngster Shreyal Telang from Karnataka in the round of 64 1-4. Ananth had entered the semifinals in the South Zone at Vijawada a few weeks back. Similarly, Manush Shah from Gujarat, a free-flowing left-hander, was struggling before overcoming Souvik Banerjee of West Bengal 10-12, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9.

For other seeds, it was as easy as it can get, including top-ranked Indian in the world Sharath Kamal who went through the motions.

Important Results:

MenRound of 64: Jubin Kumar (Har) bt Jignesh Jaiswal (Guj) 7-11, 10-12, 11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5; Shreyal Telang (Kar) bt Ananth Devarajan (TN) 14-12, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6; Arjun Ghosh (AAI) bt Mandar Hardikar (Mah) 11-6, 4-11, 6-11, 12-10, 13-11, 11-6; Parth Virmani (Del) bt Ravindra Kotiyan (RSPB) 8-11, 12-10, 11-8, 7-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9; Jeet Chandra (Har) bt Kishore Kumar (CRSB) 11-5, 9-11, 5-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6; Manush Shah (Guj) bt Souvik Banerjee (WB) 10-12, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9.

WomenRound of 64: Sutirtha Mukherjee (Har) bt Mamata Prabhu (DB) 13-11, 6-11, 11-7, 4-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8; Priyadarsini Das (RBI) bt Maria Rony (CB) 11-5, 7-11, 6-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 13-11; Divya Deshpande (PSPB) bt Munmun Kundu (AAI) 5-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-4; Garima Goyal (Del) bt Deepa Neelakandan (TN) 12-10, 10-12, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 3-11, 11-9; Poymantee Baisya (WB) bt Shreya Deshpande (DB) 8-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6, 11-4; Sreeja Akula (RBI) bt Moumita Dutta (AAI) 11-9, 10-12, 10-12, 8-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-5; Ayhima Mukjerjee (RBI) bt K. Shamini (PSPB) 11-5, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8, 12-14, 11-6; Mallika Bhandarkar bt Varuni Jaiswal (Telg) 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8.

Sutirtha Mukherjee (Har) bt Mamata Prabhu (Dena Bank) 13-11, 6-11, 11-7, 4-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8; Selena Deepthi (AAI) bt Sushmita Bidri (Kar) 11-7, 11-5, 11-6, 11-9; Aanchal Malhotra (Del) bt Seraha Jacob (TN) 11-3, 11-5, 12-10, 14-16, 4-11, 11-6; Nikhat Banu (RBI) bt Mrunmayee Mhatre (LIC) 11-8, 14-12, 11-8, 11-8;  Sagarika Mukherjee (RSPB) bt Payal Hansapuri (Chg) 11-7, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5; Divya Deshpande (PSPB) bt Munmun Kundu (AAI) 5-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-4; Amrutha Pushpak (RBI) bt Manushree Patil (Har-HoB) 11-7, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7; Pooja Sahasrabuddhe (PSPB) bt Sathya Shanmathi (TN) 11-5, 11-2, 11-8, 11-7; Harsha Vardhini (RBI) bt Kaushani Nath (AAI) 11-8, 11-6, 12-14, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8; Oishwaryaa Deb (Har) bt N. Vidya (CRSB) 11-3, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8; Ahyika Mukherjee (RBI) bt K. Shamini (PSPB) 11-5, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8, 12-14, 11-6; S. Yashini (TN) bt Kausha Bhairapure (Guj) 11-4, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5; Manika Batra (PSPB) bt Vanshika Bhargava (Del) 11-9, 11-6, 11-4, 12-10.

Top paddlers’ return for West Zone TT promises good competitions

Pune, October 4: There is some good news at last. A. Sharath Kamal, the top-ranked Indian in the world at No. 31, and Manika Batra, the new icon, will be part of the star parade at the 11Sports National Ranking (West Zone) Table Tennis Championships, beginning at the Mhalunge-Balewadi Sports Complex here from tomorrow.

This has come as shot in the arm for the organizers, Sudesh Shelar Memorial Foundation, which is conducting the tournament in memory of the national-level player and sports administrator, who passed away in 2006. This is the first ever venture at national level by the foundation.

Harmeet Desai, who played a major role in India’s medal hunt at Gold Coast (CWG) and Jakarka (Asian Games), has joined the parade, but G. Sathiyan with his league commitment abroad has not taken the plunge yet. However, he did participate in the Institutional championships and emerged as the men singles champion.

Both Manav Thakkar, winner of two titles this season, and Archana Kamath, will miss the tournament as they are representing India at the Youth Olympics, beginning October 6, at Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Except for these aberrations, the West Zone championships promise the usual challenges and god competitions with contenders trying to win the last zonal before the nationals get underway from December.

Anthony Amalraj, who won title at Vijayawada, would like to add the West Zone crown while Harmeet will look to upstage him. But Siddesh Pande, who became a surprise winner at East Zone, should be itching to lift the trophy a second time. He was simply superb at Guwahati.

The return of Manika Batra could see tight contests for the top podium finish as challengers Suthirtha Mukherjee, (South and East Zone winner), Pooja Sahasrabudhe (Central Zone winner) and Divya Deshpande (Institutional champion) would like to make the crown their own as Manika is coming into the tournament with little match practice.

The youth and junior paddlers have done themselves proud by challenging the authority of fancied seniors time and again. So have been the Cadet players with new faces emerging every tournament.

The prize money apart, which Rs. 7.47 lakh, there are some incentives on offer from the organizers for 10 under-15 players, who have a lot of potential. “We would be paying Rs. 50,000 each to the 10 selected (ideally five in each section) and support them,” said Rajesh Shelar, ex-international player and the brother of Sudesh. “We have raised the funds from our friends to help promote young kids, especially those in real need,” he added.

The open draw for top-ranked 16 men and eight women paddlers, conducted today at the venue by chief referee T.G. Upadhya, has given both Amalraj and Suthirta the top slots, respectively. And it is up to them to live up to the seeding.

According to the referee, 16 STAG tables, Stag plastic balls and flooring will be used during the seven-day competition, which kicks off with men and women groups matches, followed competition in Youth section. The chief referee will be assisted by deputies in A. Satheese and Rohit shinde who will be supported by 45 Blue Badge, international and national referees.

Sathiyan enters Spanish Open final; Manika-Mouma pair sets the tone

New Delhi, November 26: G. Sathiyan entered the men singles final of 2017 Challenge Spanish Open when he defeated Lam Siu Hang of Hong Kong 11-7, 11-8, 11-3, 8-11, 12-10 to become the first Indian to do an encore in a Challenge series at Almeria today.

He will take on sixth-seed Japanese Kazuhiro Yoshimura in the final to be played latertonight. The Japanese downed Ng Pak Nam, the No. 14 seed, from Hong Kong 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 3-11,11-5, 11-7 in a tough first semi-final earlier.

As for the Indian, who has a World Tour series title from Belgium Open in 2016, it looked all easy when he quickly went 3-0 up against the Hong Kong player. But the latter made most of Sathiyan flaws and took a comfortable lead of 8-4. Yet, Sathiyan closed in on his rival before he won with a sizeable margin.

In the fifth game, however, it was Lam who surged ahead with a winning lead of 9-5 but squandered it to allow Sathiyan level 9-9 and go 10-9 up. As he served for his match point, he failed to keep the ball in play and it allowed a lifeline to his opponent. After deuce, he served but a powerful backhand return from Sathiyan forced Lam block but the ball went out for Sathiyan to let out a big scream in elation.

It was an unexpected win for Sathiyan in the semi-final when he sent the third seeded Iranian, Noshad Alamiyan, packing rather cheaply as he the Indian won 7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6.

Manika-Mouma in maiden final

Earlier, the Indian pair of Manika Batra and Mouma Das entered its maiden women doubles final after accounting for the local favourites Ana Garcia and Xuan Zhang 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 16-14. The second-seeded Indian duo began sluggishly, losing the first game but grew in confidence to lead 2-1 rather easily. However, the Spanish pair came back strongly to level score and taking the issue to the decider.

The Indians did well to keep a slender lead and combining well posed sufficient problems to the Spaniards. But credit to the local girls who fought well and mounted pressure on their opponents after deuce.

The decisive saw Indians losing three match points before they held their fourth to enter the final where they will meet the top-seeded and a strong Korean pair of Jihee Jeon and Haeun Yang. The Koreans beat Ukraine’s Ganna Gaponova and Ievgeniia Vasylieva 10-12, 10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7.

The Koreans have an impeccable record of 14 final appearances on the ITTF World Tour, with seven titles to their credit!

Boys win first-round

Meanwhile, the junior boys’ team of Manav Thakkar, Manush Shah and Snehit Suravajjula blanked out New Zealand 3-0 in the their first round group D match in the 2017 World Junior Table Tennis Championships, currently on at Riva del Garda in Italy.

In the opening rubber Manush Shah defeated Dean Shu 11-3, 11-6, 11-3, while Manav overcame a tough Alfred Dela Pena 5-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7. In the third rubber, Senhit accounted for Victor Ma 11-4, 11-9, 11-7

Table Tennis: Lower groups throw surprises, leaders packed off

Thane, November 14: Paddlers in top six groups hardly dropped a sweat as they retained their position to move into the main draw of Sub-Junior Girls in the 11Sports National Ranking Championships (West) for the Mayor Cup at the Dadoji Konddev Stadium here today.

Tisha Kohli of Delhi, Kavyashree Baskar of Tamil Nadu, Radhapriya Goel of UP, Cathrin Tina Dass of Tamil Nadu, Sharmitha Srinivasan, also of Tamil Nadu, and Pritha Vartikar of Maharashtra easily beat their group rivals. There were similar results in some other groups, too, except for some topsy-turvy outcomes in a few where the group toppers were sent packing.

For instance, Delhi’s Tamanna Gulshan, who is ranked in the 9-16 brackets, could not take the advantage of the walkover of a player from her group and lost the only match that she had to play against Sayali Wani of Maharashtra as the latter won 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9 in group 7.

In group 8, Meghana Karandikar of Maharashtra toppled Fatema Kadri of Gujarat in straight games to enter the main draw, courtesy the lone win and a walkover from the third player. In Group 17, Aafrien Murad of Gujarat beat both the No. 1 and No. 2 players, Sucheta Prosad of West Bengal 3-0 and then accounted for Sayali Baxi of Maharashtra 3-1 to advance. In group 19, Ratnabali Pathak of West Bengal did a similar act against Taniya Patil of Goa, beating her 3-1 and then downing Poonam Yadav of Maharashtra in straight games.

In group 22, Aneeha D’Souza of Maharashtra entered the main draw after accounting for the top two players Sania Bhowmick of North Bengal (3-0) and Kaashvi Gupta of Delhi (3-1).  There were other upsets when Sampada Bhiwandkar of Maharashtra, Aditi Joshi of Karnataka and Kalyani Dhinesh, also of Karnataka, surprised the group leaders to make it a memorable outing for them.

It will be a draw of 64 in both the Sub-Junior Boys and Girls categories with the top eight ranked players getting at least byes in the first round. The third round matches, currently on, will decide which of the 32 boys who will make the cut.

Meanwhile, the Cadet Boys and Girls group matches get underway from tomorrow.

Important results:

Sub-junior Girls Qualifying: Group 7: Sayali Wani (MHR) bt Gulshan Tamanna (DLI) 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9;Group 8: Meghana Karandikar (MHR) bt Fatema Kadri (GUJ) 12-10, 11-9 11-8; Group 17: Aafrien Murad (GUJ) bt Sucheta Prosad (WB) 5-11, 13-11, 12-10, 11-7; Group 19: Ratnabali Pathak (WB) bt Taniya Patil (GOA) 11-4, 10-12, 11-7, 13-11; Group 22: Aneeha D’Souza (MAH) bt Kaashvi Gupta (DLI) 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-3; Group 23: Taneesha Kotecha (MHR) bt Nehal Venkatasamy (TN) 11-5, 11-3, 11-13, 10-12, 13-11; Group 25: Sneha Bhowmick (WB) bt Vartica Bharat (UP) 11-5, 10-12, 11-4, 12-10; Group 26: Sampada Bhiwandkar (MHR) bt Spriha Devanath (WB) 11-8, 11-6, 11-13, 11-7; Group 29: Aditi Joshi (KNT) bt Kavisha Parekh (GUJ) 11-6, 11-6, 11-13, 11-3; Group 30: Kalyani Dhinesh (KNT) bt Anoushka Chatterjee (GUJ) 11-6, 12-10, 11-7.