Sharath-Sanil PQF showdown expected

TABLE TENNIS FEDERATION OF INDIA

Sharath-Sanil PQF showdown expected

Visakhapatnam, October 21: With most favourites, including A. Sharath Kamal, taking top spots in men’s singles qualifying group matches, nobody expects anything contrary to happen even in main draw’s first round
outings.

However, a few matches witnessed qualifiers under pressure to meet the standards with at least two matches going down to the wire in the 11Even Sports National Ranking (South Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the
Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium here today.

The first round outing for Nishaad Shah of Air India was a real tough one, thanks to his rival Suraj Das from West Bengal which the Air India boy won 4-3. But the match was a thriller in the sense it was decided in the
seventh game when Nishaad closed out on his opponent 7-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-9, 14-12, 11-6.

Suraj frittered away two match points in the sixth game and so did Nishaad when he lost two game points before winning it to heave a big sigh of relief. Drained out as he was, Suraj failed to motivate himself in the
decider which Nishaad won without any trouble.

In the second, Sanmay Paranjape of West Bengal outwitted Kishore Kumar Divakar of Tamil Nadu 4-3 in a match of equals. The West Bengal boy scored more winners than his rival even as the TN boy failed to capitalize when
situated presented him with chances.

EASY FOR SHARATH

There were quite a few matches that threw up 4-2 results like the ones between Harsh Sachnandani of Gujarat who beat Subham Ojha of Rajasthan,Talangana’s Lahoti Harshavardhan defeated Lalathunhlua of Mizoram, AAI’s Sarthak Gandhi downed Souvik Kar of PSPB and Sougata Sarkar of LIC overcame Rakshit Barigidad of Karnataka.

As for Sharath, he had an easy 4-0 passage against Subhra Roy Chouwdhury of MP and will now meet in the second round left-handed Abhishek Yadav of PSPB, who struggled to win 4-2 against Tamil Nadu’s Ananth Devarajan, later
today.

By his standards, Sharath is expected to go through to the pre-quarterfinals where he is slated to meet No. 2 seed Sanil Shetty who will play his first outing this evening when he takes on Nishaad Shah.

SHAIILU’S BRAVE FIGHT


In women’s singles, with a well spread out byes, only 16 players were involved in the eight first-round matches, some of which kept everyone interested. Andhra’s promising prospect Shailu Noorbasha did put up a fight but Tamil Nadu’s Harshavardini won 10-12, 11-8, 11-1, 11-13, 11-7, 11-5 to move into the second round. AAI’s Selenadeepth Selvakumar was taken some distance by Haryana’s Riti Shankar before the former winning it 7-11,12-10, 11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9. So was the case with RBI’s Shweta Parte who had to bring in all her experience to account for Sikha Jacob of Kerala 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8.

NANDITA STRUGGLES

But it was the match between PSPB veteran Nandita Saha and Kritika Malik of Delhi that pushed spectators to the edge of their seats. Nandita squandered a 2-1 lead to trail 2-3 as Kritika put up a brave fight to outscore her
rival in the fourth and fifth games. The experienced PSPB girl, however, managed to pull it off with two crispy sixth and seventh games to which the Delhi lass had no answer.

In Youth Girls, there were quite a few upsets in the latter groups. For instance, Shrubabati Moitra of West Bengal upstaged Puja Paul of North Bengal to enter the main draw. Her 3-1 (11-7, 1-14, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8) win against Puja in group 15 saw through to her stage 2 entry. In group 16, it was even worse as Maharashtra’s Shruti Amrute’s 11-6, 9-11, 3-11, 3-11 loss to Delhis Ishita Gupta sent her out of reckoning. Ishita, in fact, had to play a good game against Tulika Roy of West Bengal to win 11-7, 1-11, 9-11,11-9, 11-6 and seal her main draw spot.

Seraha Jacob of Kerala beat Delhi’s Vanshika Bhargava 10-12, 11-8, 11-2,11-5 to take the lone qualifier’s slot from group 17 while in group 18,Sumana Saha of West Bengal ousted Shrusti Gupta of Delhi in a clinching match which the Bengal paddler won 11-2, 13-11, 5-11, 11-5. Kushi Viswanath of Karnataka bowed out after a tie ensued between her and Kaushani Nath of West Bengal Despite both having five points, the latter moved in with better average.

But for these abnormalities, every other player from the rest of groups had no problem whatsoever as they sailed into the knockout stage.

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