Big monkey off Sharath’s back, returns with a title in six years
Visakhapatnam, October 23: Achanta Sharaath Kamal, the old wine in a new bottle, was oozing with confidence and class. And it showed in the men’s singles final when he outshined G. Sathiyan to win 4-1 for his first title in six years in the 11Even Sports National Ranking (South Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium here today.
Earlier, Suthirtha Mukherjee beat Krittwika Sinha Roy 4-0 for women’s singles crown.
But today’s evening belonged to Sharath—and Shrath alone! All shots in the book, both close to the table and away from it, were on display and the first three games took everyone’s breath, including that of his rival, away. He needed minimum efforts and they told the different story of perseverance to all his Doubting Thomases.
Sathiyan, normally an attacking player, was rendered motionless. So power-packed were his shots, particularly the ones directed at his body, that they were applauded by a near-packed VPT Stadium.
“A big monkey is off my back. Yes, the last time I won a title was at the 2010 Nationals. A big relief, indeed, and coming as it did at a time when I decided to move into India, the win will definitely motivate me,” said
In their third meeting—they met each other last year’s Senior Nationals at Hyderabad and again in the team events of the Petroleum Meet—Sharath was able to avenge his losses to Sathiyan.
Earlier, Sharath blanked out Harmeet Desai 4-0 but he faced the usual opening and end-game blues. But there was no such thing call nervousness in the final. Sathiyan proved to be vulnerable when put under pressure. But Sathiyan had his day earlier when he outscored Jubin Kumar for a 4-0 semifinal win. His Chennai-mate Sharath, for the moment, has put a solid lid on his ambition for a back-to-back title.
Suthirtha Mukherjee was unstoppable right from the day she started her season winning the women’s singles title at Jaipur during the Institutional Championships. After her first national ranking trophy at Rajkot last week, the West Bengal girl scored an emphatic win to claim her back-to-back titles.
Krittwika could neither match Suthirtha’s anticipation nor her guile and it reflected in the former’s game. Essentially both are strong backhand players but Suthirtha’s plus point was that she could make swift changes
apart from using the flanks to her advantage. Krittiwika tried hard but always fell short of expectations. Earlier in the semifinals, Suthirtha defeated Mousumi Paul 4-1 and Krittwika Sinha Roy followed suit with a similar score line over Ankita Das to sail into the final.
It was courageous of PSPB boy, Birdie Boro, to turn the tables on West Bengal’s Arjun Ghosh to claim the season’s first Youth Boys title. Birdie, who won 4-3, was in the dumps gathered well in what was the finest recovery
in recent times. The PSPB lad, like Arjun Ghosh who had finished a runner-up at Chandigarh, managed a second position at Rajkot.
But today, he showed a lot of guts and played like a true champion to outsmart a well-placed Arjun, who remained the bride’s maid once again and never the bride this season. This will definitely hurt him but he should put this loss behind and prepare for the East Zone at Aizawal next month.
Manav Thakkar retained the Junior Boys title beating Delhi’s Parth Virmani 4-1. The final witnessed good, long rallies and the two enthralled the crow. However, the Delhi boy couldn’t do much in the face of Manav’s
percentage game, despite losing his extended first game.
ARCHANA’S GOLDEN DOUBLE
Archana also reclaimed her Youth Girls title to complete the golden double when she beat Tamil Nadu’s Seleenadeepthi Selvakumar 4-2. Just a little while ago, Archana had blanked her West Bengal rival Prapti Sen out 4-0 to retain Junior Girls crown.
It was a profitable zonal for Archana who lost her Youth title at Rajkot. But her determination to maintain consistency surfaced yet again today. Despite Seleena giving her some harrowing time—TN girl took two good
games—Archana never lost sight of her title.
Similarly, Prapti fought well and looked on way to recovery in the third game of Junior Girls final. A steady pressure applied by Archana dampened her spirits and the moment the West Bengal girl lost that game after two
deuces, she didn’t put her heart and soul in the fourth and just gifted it away committing far too many unforced errors.
*Men*: *Semifinals*: *Final*: Sharath Kamal (PSPB) bt G. Sathiyan (PSPB) 11-8, 11-9, 11-3, 8-11, 11-5; G. Sathiyan bt Jubin Kumar 11-8, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5, Sharath Kamal bt Harmeet Desai 14-12, 11-9, 11-9, 14-12.
Women: Final: Suthirtha Mukherjee (WB) bt Krittwika Sinha Roy (PSPB)
11-8, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5; *Semifinals*: Suthirtha Mukherjee bt Mousumi Paul 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8, Krittwika Sinha Roy bt Ankita Das 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8, 11-6.
Youth Boys Singles: Final: Birdie Boro (PSPB) bt Arjun Ghosh (WB) 9-11,
9-11, 6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9,11-8;
Semifilnals: Birdie Boro bt Rohit Bhanja 10-12, 13-11, 11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 9-11, 11-9, Arjun Ghosh bt Manav Thakkar 11-9, 11-5, 11-4, 11-5.
Youth Girls Singles: Final: Archana Girish Kamath (AAI) bt Seleenadeepthi Selvakumar (TN) 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5;
Semifinals: Archana Kamath bt Ayhika Mukherjee 9-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 11-2, 11-4, Selenadeepthi Selvakumar bt Amrutha Pushpak 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7.
Junior Boys Singles:Final: Manav Thakkar (PSPB) bt Parth Virmani (DEL) 13-15, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5;
Semifinals: Manav Thakkar bt Wesley Rosario 11-8, 11-3,11-3,11-5, Parth Virmani bt Manush Shah 11-6, 4-11, 8-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-9.
Junior Girls Singles: Final: Archana G. Kamath (AAI) bt Prapti Sen (WB) 11-7, 11-9, 13-11, 11-2; Semifinals: Prapti Sen bt Priyanka Pareek 5-11, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9, Archana Kamath bt Yasini Shivashankar 11-8,11-8,11-3,5-11,11-9.