Ahmedabad, September 14: A thoroughbred that A. Sharath Kamal is, he was counting on the positives than the negatives soon after he was drawn in group C of ITTF-ATTF 30th Asian Cup on Thursday afternoon.
“Even if I finish second in my group, I am sure of making the semi-final cut,” said the ace paddler, who is seeded ninth here.
That was the confidence and character that spoke volumes of the Indian paddler who is currently ranked No. 47 in the world and on whom the entire country’s focus would for the next three days as one of the biggest continental events gets underway at the TransStadia from tomorrow.
Drawn in a group that has Japanese Jun Mizutani, the No. 2 seed, Korean Lee Sangsu and Chinese Lin Gaoyun, the seventh seed, one would have thought it is a tough ask for the Indian, particularly when he takes on the Korean in his opening match. Yes, Sharath has beaten him on a few occasions before and twice ran him close in recent times.
Understandably, Sharath was not thinking about that as much except admitting that the first match tomorrow would really set the tone for booking next month’s World Cup ticket in Belgium. He has dealt with the Gaoyuan, too, a few times before with an impressive track record. But he did admit in as many worlds that Japanese Mizutani would be a hard nut crack, simply because of the potent service weapons he possesses. “This guy is too good with his a variety of serves,” said Sharath.
However, he knows full well the pressure of playing in front of a crowd but he believes it is also his strength. He recalled the vociferous support he received at Jaipur in 2015. “I can hope to get a good support from the home crowd. I have shaped up well for the big event and have had good practice before coming here,” he said.
If Sharath manages to win his first game against the Korean, he has every chance of finishing the group behind the Japanese and that would, in effect, help the Indian avoid running into the Group A and Group B toppers in the quarter-finals.
The top-three finishers here will earn an automatic berth in the men’s world Cup to be held in October at Liege (Belgium), but more berths will be on offer depending on where the players finish in their ranking when the final list is compiled.
Coming to the other Indian on view, Harmeet Desai, who is turning out here on the regional quota and drawn in group D. He has Thailand’s Padasak Tanviryavechakul, Iran’s Nima Alamian and Abdulaziz Al-Abbad from Saudi Arabia for company. But whoever qualifies from the group will run into the third finishing player from group A and C in a single play-off match that will determine the last two spots of quarter-finalists. They will join two quarter-finalists each from group A and C in the main draw.
As for No. 13 seed Manika Batra, the lone Indian woman gaining a slot through the regional quota, has her task cut out in group D. She has the Thai Suthasini, Qatari Aia Mohamed and Neda Shahsavari of Iran. In fact, all of them are far behind her in ranking and hence seeded behind her. This must give some hope to the former national champion, who is ranked 104 in the world. Manika did really well to win the national ranking title just the previous week at Dharwad and it has done a world of good to her confidene.
But nobody has done as well as Liu Shiwen, a four-time winner of Asian Cup. In addition, the Chinese top seed has won the Women’s World Cup as many times and that makes her favourite for the title. In fact, Liu has a great opportunity to surpass the record of Zhang Yining and qualify directly for the World Cup to be staged in Toronto later this year. The other contenders in fray here would only be fighting out for the remaining two spots.
The Asian Cup groupings:
Group A: Fan Zhendong (CHN), Koki Niwa (JPN), Chen Chien-An (TPE), Ho Kwan Kit (HKG).
Group B: Wong Chun Ting (HKG), Chuang Chih-Yuan (TPE), Jeong Sanguen (KOR), Noshad Alamiyan (IRI).
Group C: Jun Mizutani (JPN), Lee Sangsu (KOR), Lin Gaoyuan (CHN), A. Sharath Kamal (IND).
Group D: Harmeet Desai (IND), Padasak Tanviriyavechakul (THA), Nima Alamian (IRI), Abdulaziz Al-Abbad (KSA).
Group A: Zhu Yuling (CHN), Miu Hirano (JPN), Doo Hoi Kem (HKG), Yu Mengyu (SGP).
Group B: Liu Shiwen (CHN), Cheng I-Ching (TPE), Yang Haeun (KOR), Lee Ho Ching (HKG).
Group C: Kasumi Ishikawa (JPN), Feng Tianwei (SGP), Suh Hyowon (KOR), Chen Szu-Yu (TPE).
Group D: Suthasini Sawettabut (THA), Manika Batra (IND), Aia Mohamed (QAT), Neda Shahsavari (IRI).
Dharwad, September 11: Manush Shah of the Airports Authority of India added yet another title in the Junior Boys category when he downed Jeet Chandra of West Bengal 4-1 while Swastika Ghosh of Maharashtra outplayed Selenadeepthi Selvakumar, also of AAI, to score a similar victory and claim her maiden Junior Girls crown in the LIC-IOC All India National Ranking Table Tennis Championships (South Zone) at the District Indoor Stadium here today.
Left-hander Manush Shah, who is a recent AAI recruit on scholarship, was more consistent with his winners today than his West Bengal rival, who was rendered ineffective absolutely. Jeet, who felled Manav Thakkar in the semi-final earlier, was making far too many mistakes which only aided the boy from Gujarat.
Manush was attacking from the word go. Unable to counter, Jeet was pushed to the corner. So much so that even his normal blocks seemed to have deserted him like his precise forehand winners. Gaining ascendancy and piling on the agony of Jeet, the AAI lad was severe on anything loose as he went on to accumulate quick points.
Down 0-2, the West Bengal lad banked on his never-say-die attitude to repair the damage. He did succeed and won the third game but Manush was right on the money to pull the shutters down on him, taking the next two games to lift the glittering golden trophy.
Swastika, who is still a Cadet girl, was for the first time competing in the Junior section here. Having picked a few Cadet and Sub-Junior silverwares already, it was a wise decision for her to make a try in the higher section. And, she didn’t disappoint anyone, including herself.
Probably, the 4-2 quarterfinal win over PSPB’s Archana Kamath and later the semifinal riumph over state mate Srushti Halaengadi, also by a similar margin, must have given her the confidence and nicely set her up for the final showdown against Selena.
But neither Selena’s experience, nor skills could deny Swastika her title. This was in spite of losing an extended second game as Selena fought back well. But Swastika launched herself in the nick of time, showing great maturity and intensity. Selena wilted under pressure as her counters were not coming good. Soon, it was curtains for the girl from Tamil Nadu as the Maharashtra girl went from strength to strength.
Junior Boys Singles: Final: Manush Shah (AAI) bt Jeet Chandra (WB) 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8; Semi-finals: Manush Shah bt Yashansh Malik (Del) 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-3; Jeet Chandra bt Manav Thakkar (PSPB) 11-7, 11-9, 4-11, 11-5, 11-6.
Junior Girls Singles: Final: Swastika Ghosh (Mah) bt Selenadeepthi Selvakumar (AAI) 11-8, 13-15, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5; Semi-finals: Selenadeepthi Selvakumar bt Ishita Gupta 8-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7, 11-5, Swastika Ghosh bt Srushti Haleangadi (Mah) 11-9, 11-4, 3-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-8.
Dharwad, September 9: Top-seed A.Sharath Kamal crept his way into the semi-finals of the LIC-IOC All India National Ranking Table Tennis Championships (South Zone) when he beat a sturdy Sougata Sarkar of LIC 4-3 at the District Indoor Stadium here today.
Second-seed G.Sathiyan brushed aside left-hander Sail Shetty’s challenge, winning his match 4-2, while Manav Thakkar and A. Amalraj eased into the next round without a sweat on a sultry evening.
Normally a free-flowing Sharath was not in his elements. Despite taking the first game with some struggle, he allowed a two-game cushion to Sougata as the LIC’s old warhorse led 3-2, putting Sharath in an awkward position. But Sharath steadied himself well at the crucial juncture knock the stuffing out of Sougata.
Sathiyan, facing a fast-paced Sanil, more or less sailed in the same boat when he allowed his rival come too close for his comfort before going all out in the sixth game to clinch it and the match.
Ankita Das was on the verge of equalling when she led comfortably in the sixth game at 7-2 but let Madhurika claw her way back into the game and take 10-9 lead. But on match point, Madhurika spilled the chance as Ankita deuced. From there, the national champion squandered four match points before winning the match on the fifth. Ankita had three game points but she could not put them into account and take the issue to the decider. Madhurika won 4-2.
PSPB’s Archana had some initial hiccups when Railways Takeme Sarkar, playing her best in recent times, challenged her supremacy. Yet, a calm and cool Archana inched her way slowly from 2-2 to take the next two games comfortably for a 4-2 verdict as the Railways paddler lost her way after a lot of promise.
As for Manika, brushing aside her initial struggle she reeled off eight straight points from 3-7 to win the fifth game to push the RBI girl, Amrutha Pushpak out of race and win 4-1. On the other hand, Suthirtha had sewn it up rather nicely against veteran Mouma Das with a 4-1 victory.
Earlier in the day, top-seed Pooja Sahasrabuddhe stumbled in the pre-quarterfinals allowing unseeded Amrutha Pushpak win 11-9, 11-6, 11-7, 2-11, 11-5. It was an ordinary game dished out by Pooja who won the Institutional women singles title in the first week of August at New Delhi. But credit must be given to the RBI girl who played brilliantly to outsmart the top seed.
In men singles, fourth seed Arjun Ghosh and sixth seed Abhishek Yadav bowed out as Subhajit Saha and Anthony Amalraj, respectively, scalped them in the pre-quarters. Saha won 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 11-3, 4-11, 11-8 and Amalraj made it a straight games affairs with 11-8, 11-9, 11-5, 11-1 triumph. Top-seeded Sharath beat Railways Anirban Nandi 10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 13-11, but young Jeet Chandra ousted floater Birdie Boro in straight games. Manav Thakkar followed suit downing Siddesh Pande 4-0.
Action in Youth Boys and Girls entered the main draw stage with two rounds to be played tonight. Liberal byes in the Boys section meant that it would be a draw of 64 with the seeds getting down to business from round two. The Girls were not so luck in the 32 draw format and they would be playing two rounds tonight.
As for the Junior Boys and Girls, the qualification process gets over today with the main draw set to begin tomorrow.
Men Singles (QF): A. Sharatah Kamal bt Sougata Sarkar (LIC) 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 2-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, Manav Thakkar bt Subhajit Saha (PSPB) 11-6, 11-1, 11-9, 11-4, A.Amalraj bt Jeet Chandra (WB) 11-5, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5, G. Sathiyan bt Sanil Shetty (PSPB) 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8.
Women Singles (QF): Manika Batra bt Amrutha Pushpak (RBI) 11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7, Madhurika Patkar bt Ankita Das (PSPB) 12-10, 5-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 17-15, Archana Kamath bt Takeme Sarkar (Rlys) 4-11, 11-6, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8, 11-3, Suthirtha Mukherjee bt Mouma Das (PSPB) 11-8, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10.
Dharwad, September 8: On a day that saw a couple of men seeds falling by the wayside, No. 3 Harmeet Desai, who will be playing his first Asian Cup in a week’s time at Ahmedabad, must be the most disappointed.
Unseeded Birdie Boro felled Harmeet 4-2 (5-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7) in a gripping battle of the LIC-IOC All India National Ranking Table Tennis Championships (South Zone) at the District Indoor Stadium here today. But the rot began even before Harmeet bowed out as former junior national champion Siddesh Pande of Maharashtra sent fifth seed Raj Mondal packing 4-3 (4-11, 11-8, 5-11, 4-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-5) to enter the pre-quarterfinals.
Dangerous floater Nitin Thiruvengadam of Canara Bank was also on the verge of causing a major upset but failed to cash in on four match points when he led 10-6 and then another one after Sanil Shetty deuced to let seventh off the hook. Shetty won the marathon battle that lasted nearly 95 minutes 12-10, 9-11, 4-11, 7-11, 11-8, 16-14, 12-10.
Top seed Sharath began well but was stretched a bit by Tamil Nadu’s Ananth Devarajan, particularly in the fourth game. The rest of seeds faced little trouble in entering the pre-quarterfinals.
However, the matches between Siddesh and Raj and Sail and Nitin kept the audience glued to their vantage positions in the gallery and closer to the courts where the action was taking place.
Siddesh was 1-3 down and it looked like a cakewalk for Raj. But the youngster pulled out all stops and played brilliantly, matching every stroke of the experienced RBI paddler. The Maharashtra boy reeled out several winners, particularly in the last two games which studdned Mondal.
Similarly, Nitin will go back home equally disappointed after putting up a great show. One doesn’t get such an opportunity of a four match-point advantage and he must be ruing the crucial mistakes he committed.
As for Harmeet, who needed sufficient practice before the Ahmedabad event, was way off the mark falling short on occasions when Birdie decided to go on the rampage. In fact, Birdie was down 5-8 in the fifth game and managed to pull it back at 9-all only to lose steam. However, he didn’t take any further chance and shut his rival out with a clinical job in the next.
With men and women seeds jumping into fray for the first time, the focus naturally shifted from group qualifiers to the top paddlers in the morning. But it didn’t set the alarm bells ringing. All but one of them moved into the next round and they were joined by the tried and tested ones in the race to trophy.
Seventh seed Akula Sreeja from the Reserve Bank of India was the lone first-round victim in women singles as she went down to Moumita Datta of AAI. It was the most interesting morning match where the two equals were having a slug fest. In fact, Sreeja twice led in the match, first 2-0 and then 3-2.
But the AAI girl took wings and flew into the second round with some astonishing forehand winners, especially in the sixth, as she beat the seventh seed 8-11, 9-11, 14-12, 11-6, 8-11, 13-11, 11-8. She will next meet Yashini Sivashankar of Tamil Nadu, another promising youngster, who beat Kerala’s Maria Rony 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6.
Mouma Das, who duly booked her place in the main draw last night, had little problem in putting it across her PSPB colleague Mousumi Paul 11-4, 17-15, 11-7, 11-6. Of course, Mousumi put up some resistance in the second game which saw a few deuces and three game points being squandered by Mouma. She won the game and cleaned up Mousumi soon after.
Other important results (R-32): Anirban Nandi (Rlys) bt Sourav Sha (PSPB) 11-8, 12-10, 12-10, 12-10, Omkar Torgalkar (Mah) bt Utkarsh Gupta (Del) 11-7, 10-12, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6, Sougata Sarkar (LIC) bt Jalay Mehta (Guj) 11-7, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8, Manav Thakkar (PSPB) bt Vivek Bhargava (Raj) 6-11, 11-6, 11-6, 13-11, 11-5, Subhajit Saha (PSPB) bt Jubin Kumar (PSPB) 11-9, 17-15, 15-13, 6-11, 11-8, Arjun Ghosh (AAI) bt Sanish Ambekar (Mah) 9-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8, Jeet Chandra (WB) bt Ronit Bhanja (WB) 11-6, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8, A. Amalraj (PSPB) bt Anirban Ghosh (WB) 12-10, 11-6, 10-12, 11-5, 11-3, Abhishek Yadav (PSPB) bt Jignesh Jaiswal (Guj) 11-6, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7, Ravindra Kotiyan (Rlys) bt Sushmit Sriram (AAI) 11-2, 5-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5, 5-11, 11-5, Sudhanshu Grover (PSPB) bt Devesh Karia (Guj) 5-11, 11-3, 11-1, 11-4, 11-5, G. Sathiyan (PSPB) bt Sivananda Sehsadrai (Central Revenue) 11-8, 11-6, 11-7, 11-1.
Dharwad, September 6: Lacking the much-needed match practice, former national champion Mouma Das was on the verge of ouster in the LIC All India National Ranking Table Tennis Championships (South Zone) at the District Indoor Stadium here today.
But the veteran, who never faced such situations in recent times, will be fighting it out tomorrow to prove her distractors wrong when she takes on Anubha Bajaj of Delhi in her last outing. Not that she needs to prove a point to anybody, but for her own sake she will give her cent percent to enter the main draw, after going down to Airport Authority of India’s Chipia 10-12, 11-7, 8-11, 8-11.
However, the lapse in her concentration proves the point beyond doubt that there is no substitute to match practice which Mouma missed desperately, after giving a skip to season-opener Central Zone ranking event at Indore and the subsequent Institutional championships at Delhi.
On the other hand, another former national champion Manika Batra brushed aside her qualification grind to post two straight wins in Group 1 to gain her main draw place. This should serve her well as the preparation ground for the forthcoming 30th ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup in Ahmedabad from September 15.
Unmindful of the sudden change in stature Manika, who is currently world No. 104, first defeated Assam’s Syeda Dania Taski in her opening match, beginning it as cautiously as possible. Gradually gaining ascendancy over her Assamese opponent, she finished off the match in style in less than 20 minutes to win 11-6, 11-2, 11-1. In the second round, she downed Rajasthan’s Nikita Rautela 11-8, 11-6, 13-11 to seal her place in the main draw, the first round of which will begin tomorrowevening.
But for Mouma, who accounted for Senhora D’Souza 11-4, 11-3, 11-9 in her first round group 17 tie rather easily, the loss to Chipia must have come as a rude shock. After being extended in the first game, Mouma was visibly tired and yet she picked up momentum in the second to win it. However, hampered by the normal quick flowing movement Mouma was at the receiving end as the AAI girl played truly well to more or less take the top perch in the group.
The draw of 128, which received rave reviews from players, was introduced at the Central Zone National Ranking championships at Indore to help a second player get into the main draw. In the earlier system adopted, only the group leader made the cut. Under the current dispensation, the players hovering in the 17-32 brackets and up to 64 have chances to sneak in if they manage to post at least one win in a group of four players, particularly in a three-way tie.
Take for instance, Krittwika Sinha Roy, who is India No.15. By that yardstick she should have topped the group with an all-win record and walked into the main draw. But the PSPB woman was stunned when RBI’s new recruit and India No. 4 in Youth Girls, Harshavardhini, outwitted her 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 13-11 in their first round group 7 tie. However, Krttwika still has a chance to make the grade.
Setback for Karnataka
From the hosts’ point of view, it was a bad beginning for Kushi Viswanath who lost her first round match in group 15 to Ashlesha Trehan of the Railways 9-11, 11-13, 11-6, 5-11. Shailu Noorbasha of Andhra Pradesh downed Samyukta Kumar 10-12, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7. However, Spoorthi Venkatesh, who defeated Namna Jaiswal of Gujarat 11-7, 11-9, 13-11, made amends for her teammates’ loss.
In men singles, Shreyas Kulkarni started on a wrong note against Nitin Thiruvengadam of Canara Bank in group 10. Nitin, a seasoned player, just toyed with his Karnataka opponent to win 11-5, 11-4, 11-5. But P.V. Charan defeated Aakash Kasar of Maharashtra 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 in his first outing to give Karnataka some hope.
As for the regulars in both sections, the results went along the expected line. But with a day to go for the qualification processes to end, some surprises could be in store.
Dharwad, September 5: The picturesque Dharwad, known as the Pensioners’ Paradise, will be luring for the next seven days a lot of young players to it when the city plays host to yet another major event—the LIC All India National Ranking Table Tennis Championships (South Zone)—in five years at the District Indoor Stadium, commencing here tomorrow.
Having conducted the All India Institutional Championships in 2013, the Dharwad District Association is all geared up to welcome paddlers from across the country, including reigning national champion A. Sharath Kamal, G. Sathiyan, the winner of Central Zone at Indore, A. Amalraj, the recent addition to the Arjuna Award list, Harmeet Desai and Sanil Shetty in the men section, while in the women category the who’s who of Indian table tennis will vie with each other to have a shot at the crown.
Soumyajit Ghosh, who is yet to play in a national ranking tournament this year—he participated in the Institutional meet in New Delhi—has chosen to skip the second one, too. But there are other seasoned paddlers like Sharath and the rest who have realised the significance of South Zone, the third domestic event on the TTFI calendar. So much so, there are over 800 players competing in 10 categories for the Rs. 6.70 lakh prize money which saw a 10 percent increase from the previous years.
More than the money, the ranking points carry a lot of weight when it comes to considering players for Team India duty in international tournaments abroad. With just 8 months to for the CWG in Gold Coast in Australia and the Asiad later in Indonesia, it is important for all players to get in right shape to have a look-in by the national selectors and be a part of the Team India scheme devised by TTFI with the help of foreign expert Massimo Costantini.
The players, who are now getting used to the open draw introduced for the first time at Indore, participated in it yesterday in which top 16 men and 8 women paddlers got an early wind of what to expect in the main draw. This novelty has done away with the suspense that prevailed before, thus making the contests sharp and focused.
With the top eight seeds already decided—Sharath is leading the chart in men singles while Pooja Sahasrabuddhe in women singles—the battle could get as fascinating as possible once the main draw begins. Despite Sathiyan winning the title at Indore, he is behind Sharath in seeding as the latter being an elite player has been accorded preference over the former. But for two women paddlers the South Zone could be a tricky affair Manika Batra and Mouma Das will have to begin from the scratch, having to play from the qualifiers.
However, the most unlucky among the two could be Manika Batra, the lone woman contender representing India at the forthcoming Asian Cup in Ahmedbad. During open draw, PSPB’s Archana Kamath and Poulami Ghatak edged out Manika in the toss as all the three with 55 points to each were joint seventh in the ranking. But Mouma, having missed both the Central Zone and the Institutional championships at Delhi, has no points this season. Perhaps, this will be first time in many years that Mouma has to play the qualifiers.
However, playing qualifiers is not a bad thing at all and who could vouch for it better than Sharath? With no ranking points in his kitty, the top-ranked Indian in the world had to do precisely that in last year’s South Zone at Vizag and it had done him a world of good. He went on to win the national ranking title in several years and followed it up with the national title at Manesar!
Apart from the star parade, the local flavour will keep the audience glued to their seats as they will look up to Archana Kamath, Kushi Viswanath and Anargaya Manjunath in the junior section while Sujan Bharadwaj and Akash in the sub-junior and Cadet sections to put up a grand show in front of the ‘home’ crowd.
For the championships here, STAG tables and flooring will be used while DHS balls will be in play on the first five days. STAG balls will be used for the sub-junior and cadet events only on the last two days. The event will see a deployment of 61 technical officials, including chief referee C.L. Thade, deputy referee Manjunath along with the services of veterans A.S. Kler, Henry under the leadership of competition manager G. Ganeshan.
LIC and Indian Oil Corporations, who have pitched in their might to the championships, are the main sponsors while United Commercial Bank will be the co-sponsors. Other institutions like Canara Bank, Dena Bank, SBI, AAI, Century Developers and TECHSER have also contributed in their own way to help conduct the championships.
New Delhi, August 19: The Indian pair of Soumyajit Ghosh and G. Sathiyan defeated compatriots Anothony Amal Raj and Sanil Shetty to entern the men doubles final of the Seamaster 2017 World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open at Panagyurishte today.
The Ghosh-Sathiyan duo defeated Amalraj and Shetty in straight games of 11-3, 12-10, 11-8. The two will now take on the top-seeded Japanese duo of Jin Uda and Maharu Yoshimura in the final on Sunday. The Japanese had a tough time against Hungarians Nandor Ecseki and AdamSzudi before winning their semi-final match 11-9, 5-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-6.
In contrast, both Ghosh and Sathiyan faced a tough encounter against Taipei’s Lin un Ju and Yang Heng-Wei in the quarterfinals which the Indians won 3-2. However, Amalraj and Shetty had an easy quarterfinal outing against Tedor Alexandrov and Denislav Kodjabashev of the host country. But when it came to facing Ghosh and Sathiyan, except for the second game where they were extended, Amalraj and Shetty failed to press home the advantage in the semfiinal.
Earlier, Manika Batra and Mouna Das lost to their opponents Matilda Ekholm and Georgina Pota, a Sweden-Hungary combine, 4-11, 11-8, 12-14, 12-14 in tough women doubles semifinal match.
Manav Thakkar, too, had to satisfy himself with the bronze after losing his under-21 men singles semifinal match to Tomas Polansky of Czech Republic 8-11, 6-11, 11-5, 8-11.
Men Doubles: (Semifinals): Soumyajit Ghosh-G. Sathiyan bt Anthony Amalraj-Sanil Shetty 11-3, 12-10, 11-8; Quarterfinals: Anthony Amalraj-Sanil Shetty bt Tedor Alexandrov–Denislav Kodjabashev (BUL) 11-8, 11-9, 11-4; Soumyajit Ghosh-G. Sathiyan bt Lin Yun-Ju-Yang Heng-Wei (TPE) 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7.
New Delhi, August 7: Second-seed G. Sathiyan and third-seeded Pooja Sahasrabuddhe lifted the men and women singles trophies without much of a sweat in the LPS Bossard 47th All India Inter-Institutional Championsh
Their winning efforts fetched them Rs. 80,000 and Rs. 70,000, respectively. It was the successive title wins for Sathiyan, who blanked out Harmeet Desai 4-0, while Pooja claimed her maiden crown in a major tournament after accounting for national champion Madhurika Patkar 4-0.
The men and women singles finals as well as the semi-finals were similar in more ways than one. If the score-lines in the finals were same for the winners, the semi-finals scores in men singles were 4-1 and 4-2 in women; both the finals and semi-finals lacked the intensity and brilliance of the quarterfinal matches.
The men singles players may have warmed up more than required but Sathiyan took a little over 20 minutes to make Harmeet push and prod even as the winner kept finding winners after winners. Harmeet was absolutely in a daze and could not do anything against an in-form Sathiyan.
In women singles final, Pooja had very little resistance except being extended in two games. But Madhurika, who helped her team win title and doing so well until the final, was somewhat handicapped and failed to cross the final hurdle. Pooja, who won the first game comfortably, kept a nice tempo and continued it until the end.
Earlier in the day, the men and women singles semi-finals were similar in more ways than one. The 4-1 and 4-2 score-lines, respectively, for the winners apart, the intensity and brilliance of quarterfinals were missing.
Sharath Kamal, who had an excellent run this season, was found wanting against Harmeet Desai as Harmeet kept hammering in winners. His backhand matched every stroke of Sharath and despite losing the opening game, Harmeet played really well to beat the top-seed. Sharath, when he conceded the 2-1 lead, it looked as if he had thrown in the towel. And that is precisely what happened as Harmeet went on to pile on the agony of the top-ranked Indian in the world who failed to keep the ball on table, culminating in his exit.
Sathiyan proved too good for Arjun, who managed to take a game off his rival. Against the pace of Sathiyan, Arjun was rendered clueless even as his forehand seemed to have deserted him on the day. He became more error-prone except perhaps in the second game which made Sathiyan’s job a lot easier.
Ankita Das looked like giving a good fight to the top-seeded Madhurika who dropped two games. But Madhurika gained ascendancy as she kept attacking Ankita to keep her out of the match. Even Pooja Sahasrabuddhe did the same to Takeme Sarkar, also from Siliguri like Ankita, but representing the Railways. The tone was set in the opening game which Pooja won very comfortably. However, Takeme came back nicely twice to tame Pooja for a while but the PSPB girl could not be denied her place under the sun as she upped the ante after Takeme took her second game at 13-1 to level the score.
In men doubles, the PSPB pair of Sudhanshu Grover and Abhishek Yadav combined well to beat teammates Sanil Shetty and Jubin Kumar 3-2. The left-handed pairs did well to come back after being down 0-2 but wilted in the decisive fifth game to end up with the silver medal.
In women doubles, the RBI pair of Akula Sreeja and Ayhika Muherjee defeated their AAI rivals Moumita Dutta and Kaushani Nath 3-2 in a thriller. Down 0-2, the AAI came recovered to level the score but in the decider it was the RBI duo that pulled it off to win the title.
Men Singles: (Final): G. Sathiyan (PSPB) bt Harmeet Desai (PSPB) 11-5, 11-1, 11-4, 11-4; Semi-finals: Harmeet Desai bt A. Sharath Kamal (PSPB) 8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-4, 11-7, G. Sathiyan bt Arjun Ghosh (AAI) 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-6.
Women Singles: (Final): Pooja Sahasrabuddhe (PSPB) bt Madhurika Patkar (PSPB) 11-9, 12-10, 12-10, 11-7; Semi-finals: Madhurika Patkar bt Ankita Das (PSPB) 5-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7, Pooja Sahasrabuddhe bt Take Sarkar (RSPB) 11-1, 8-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-3, 11-7.
Men Doubles (Final): Sudhanshu Grover/Abhishek Yadav (PSPB) bt Sanil Shetty/Juin Kumar (PSPB) 11-9, 13-11, 10-12, 7-11, 11-3.
Women Doubles (Final): Akula Sreeja/Ayhika Mukheree (RBI) bt Moumita Dutta/Kaushani Nath (AAI) 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 7-11, 11-5.