Siliguri double at Chennai!
Soumyajit, Ankita are champs
Chennai, August 16: Time-outs is a double-edged weapon. It can make or break one’s confidence. But national and Institutional champion Soumyajit Ghosh, with his second service intact, took time out at 9-8 and it did wonders. He served to go 10-8 and finished the men’s singles final soon after when his opponent Harmeet Desai served to add more silverware to his collection at the National Ranking (South Zone) Table Tennis Championships here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Multi purpose Indoor Stadium today.
The Siliguri man beat PSPB team mate Harmeet Desai and the win fetched him Rs. 66,000. Desai got half of that amount for finishing runner-up. Earlier, Ankita, also hailing from Siliguri, beat here PSPB colleague Pooja Sahasrabudhe in the women’s singles final 4-3.
Despite losing the first game rather poorly, Ghosh showed grit and determination to keep things under control. However, in the fifth game Desai just toyed with his rival, going 6-0 up swiftly and closing out the game at 11-2 for a 2-3 score. But that was all he could do as Ghosh, in the next game, finished it off in spite of letting Desai score three successive points at 8-5.
The Pooja-Ankita final failed to catch the imagination, despite the two playing and missing and giving away negative points. No doubt, there were some good short rallies and clean winners, yet none had a firm grip until the decider where Ankita won a few crucial points. The match swung from one end to another when Ankita, trailing 1-2, picked herself up to put up a good fight and lead 3-2 before letting her rival clone in on. Ankita collected Rs. 55,000 for the title effort and Pooja just half the sum.
The Youth Boys and Girls titles went to Abhishek Yadav and Reeth Rishya, respectively. They also pocketed Rs. 24,200 and Rs. 20,000, respectively, being the winner’s purse.
On fourth championship-point Abhishek got lucky when Sudhanshu failed to send the ball across and netted for the southpaw to heave a big sigh of relief. Incidentally, this was his fourth Youth title, including three in a row. Last year, he began his journey for the first time and notched up a win at the Central Zone, East Zone and North Zone. In between, he missed one at Gandhidham, where the West Zone was played.
The former team mates of PSPB Academy they know each other’s game well and it seemed a give and take as games went the alternative way until the sixth. However, in the decider, Yadav had a distinct advantage and led 7-4 and 10-9 to let things drift a wee bit. Sudhanshu too had a championship point at 13-12 but goofed up the chance.
What was remarkable about the two’s game was that they were never afraid of attacking coupled with the ability to retrieve even the deep, long shots. The final marked several good rallies, but even more attracting were their crispy backhands and down-the-line forehands./p>
Reeth could finally become the bride that she wanted to be after twice finishing only the bridesmaid last season at the North and East Zone events, at Agra and Durgapur. She had her problems against Ayhika as the AAI girl was ready with her counters to whatever Reeth was sending across. But her change of plan, after being 1-2 down, worked to the PSPB girl’s advantage.
Reeth, until then struggling to land the ball, made good variations and tricked with her cross-court attack which really paid dividends. “I’ve finally made it. The monkey is off my back and I can breathe easy now,” said Reeth, who trains under Ravi Venkatesh and Vasu at the Maharishi Vidhya Mandir at Chetpet in Chennai.
Except for the semifinal between top-seed Soumyajit Ghosh and No. 2 seed G. Sathiyan in the men’s singles and the one between Ankita Das and Mouma Das in the women’s singles, the other two proved to be one-sided. Both Ghosh and Ankita won their respective matches 4-2.
One can understand the 38-year-old Anindita Chakraborty unable to withstand the onslaught against a relatively younger Pooja Sahasrabudhe, but it is difficult to explain away the 29-year-old Anthony Amalraj, who has a national title to his credit, bowing out without a fight against Gujarat’s Harmeet Desai.
It was a pathetic game that Amalraj played and it reflected on the score and the authority which with Harmeet dismissed his presence without dropping a sweat on a gloomy, sultry day. At least he did put up a semblance of fight at the Inter-Institutional championships in New Delhi
against the same opponent before losing the semifinals there.
Amalraj, who was until recently playing for a Polish club, has switched his loyalty and has now joined a club in Spain. One doesn’t know how well he is performing abroad in club assignments, but unfortunately, his domestic graph is steadily going down.
In Youth Boys, Ravindra Kotiyan would have wanted his quarterfinal form to continue but could not replicate it against the experienced Abhishek Yadav. The PSPB left-hander played brilliantly to outlast his RSPB rival 4-1. Abhishek’s teammate Sudhanshu Grover, too, had made it rather easy against Delhi’s Utkarsh Gupta with a 4-1 verdict.
Soumyajit Ghosh (PSPB) bt Harmeet Desai (PSPB) 4-2 (3-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8, 2-11, 11-8);
Soumyajit Ghosh bt G. Sathiyan (PSPB) 4-2 (11-7, 11-13, 11-2, 2-11, 11-9, 11-6),
Harmeet Desai bt Anthony Amalraj (PSPB) 4-0 (11-8, 11-9, 12-10, 11-3).
Ankita Das (PSPB) bt Pooja Sahasfabudhe (PSPB) 4-3 (11-8, 10-12, 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6);
Pooja Sahasrabudhe bt Anindita Chakraborty (RSPB) 4-1 (14-12, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6,
Ankita Das bt Mouma Das (PSPB) 4-2 (11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 11-8,11-8).
*Youth Boys Singles*:
*Final*: Abhishek Yadav (PSPB) bt Sudhanshu Grover (PSPB) 4-3 (10-12, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6, 15-13);
Abhishek Yadav bt Ravindra Kotiyan (RSPB) 4-1 (11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5,11-8),
Sudhanshu Grover bt Utkarsh Gupta (Dli) 4-1 (6-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-2,11-8).
*Youth Girls Singles*:
*Final*: Reeth Rishya (PSPB) bt Ayhika Mukherjee (AAI) 4-3 (11-8, 6-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8);
Reeth Rishya bt R. Harshavardhini (TN) 4-2 (10-12, 11-8, 11-3, 11-13, 11-6, 11-6),
Ayhika Mukherjee bt Archana Kamath Girish (AAI) 4-1 (11-3, 7-11, 11-7,14-12, 11-9).