Ronit and Archana make first year,first show, a box-office hit
Chennai, August 15: It was first year, first show box-office hits for both Ronit Bhanja of West Bengal and Airports Authority of India’s Archana Kamath Girish as they demolished their opponents in the Junior Boys and Junior Girls finals, respectively, to wear the crowns today.
On a qualifiers’ day out at the ongoing National Ranking (South Zone) Table Tennis Championships here at the Jawaharlal Nehru multi-purpose Indoor Stadium, Ronit beat his state mate Abhimanyu Mitra 4-0 and Archana repeated the score line against Tamil Nadu’s R. Harshavardhini. Their triumphs earned them each Rs. 16,500 and Rs. 13,200 for their efforts.
However, putting the final loss behind Harshavardhini made her day somewhat memorable by accounting for top-seeded Manika Batra in the Youth Girls section’s pre-quarterfinals. The Tamil Nadu girl won 6-11, 11-9, 11-7,14-12, 5-11, 3-11, 12-10. For the record, Manika was leading 7-0 in the decider! Other seeded players in the section went through to the quarter finals.
But what was even more worth in weight was how they approached their maiden appearance in a junior event and made most of the first opportunity. Of course, both were sub-junior champions, but when they were taking a fresh step, they were not afraid and it reflected in their game plans, particularly in the semifinals.
However, in comparison, the finals turned out to be mere formalities as they simply bulldozed their opponents within no time.
*Qualifiers’ day out*
Qualifier Ronit Bhanja, matching and countering every stroke of top-seed Manav Thakkar made the last three games count to outwit the PSPBA boy 4-3. Leading 3-1, the boy from Gujarat was kept engaged with long rallies and counter attacks by the West Bengal lad. Once he pulled his second game back he grew in confidence while Manav was feeling the pressure.
Ronit enjoyed some largesse from his rival who, in a hurry to finish the game, was making far too many mistakes and that too at crucial junctures. But Ronit can neither be blamed for that nor be denied praise for his resolve. With all the shots in his book, he was often overpowering the
opponent with some brilliants deep forehand shots.
In the other second final, Ronit’s state mate Abhimanyu Mitra beat Siddhesh Pande from Maharashtra 4-2.
A lot of hope was pinned on local favourite and No. 2 seed Selenadeepthi Selvakumar to pass the muster against qualifier Archana Kamath of AAI. But it was a disappointing end for Selena yet a satisfying one. For, Selena came back strongly after being 1-3 down to level the score and again in the decider went 8-6 up from 4-6 down.
She played brilliantly, with perfect execution of some good backhands, to hold the leash. But on match point at 10-8 she squandered the opportunity. Both Selena and Archana saved two match points each, but when the third came, the AAI girl held on. For the other Tamil Nadu girl, R.
Harshavardhini, it was not a cakewalk against AP’s Shailu Noorbasha as the former had to bring in all his resources to win 4-2 for her maiden final entry.
*Seeds sprout slowly*
Men’s No. 1 seed Soumyajit Ghosh huffed and puffed his way into the quarterfinals with a 4-3 verdict against West Bengak’s Souvik Kar, a qualifier, while it was a cakewalk for No 2. G. Sathiyan who made mincemeat of qualifier Sanish Ambekar from Maharashtra. Though from the other top eight players had, more or less, easy quarterfinal passage, both Devesh Karia from Gujarat and PSPB’s Harmeet Desai were made to work hard for their victories. Abhishek Yadav stretched Karia the full distance but Harmeet who, in his second meeting against West Bengal’s Anirban Ghosh, struggled before overcoming the hurdle. The match between Nitin Thiruvengadam and Jubin Kumar, too, had spectators on the edge of their seats and Nitin came up 4-3 triumphant in the tense match.
However, it was the women’s ties that aroused passion as well as curiosity. At the adjacent table, Nitin’s wife K. Shamini was not so lucky and went down 2-4 to one of the oldest and most determined players from the Railways, Anindita Chakraborty. A seasoned campaigner, playing for nearly a quarter of a century now, straightaway stepped on the gas pedal and made Shamini earn her points. But against her guiles, the former national champion was found wanting.
In contrast, both national champion Mouma Das and Olympian Ankita Das raised their games when it mattered the most to beat their rivals Shweta Parte and Reeth Rishya. The latter two named frittered their good winning chances away. Surprisingly, Shweta’s team mate from RBI, Krittwika Sinha Roy went down to Divya Deshpande of Maharashtra without a fight.
The men and women quarterfinals are slated for later tonight but in the Youth section paddlers will play their quarterfinals tomorrow morning.
*Junior Boys singles*: *Final*: Ronit Bhanja (WB) bt Abhimanyu Mitra (WB) 11-7, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7;
*Semifinals*: Ronit Bhanja (WB) bt Manav Thakkar (PSPBA) 8-11, 13-11, 6-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6,
Abhimanyu Mitra (WB) bt Siddhesh Pande (Mhr-A) 11-8, 5-11, 3-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8;
Manav Thakkar (PSPBA) btAnirban Ghosh (WB) 14-12, 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 11-3,11-8,
Ronit Bhanja (WB) bt Ananth Devarajan (TN) 6-11, 11-0, 7-11, 11-8,7-11, 11-6, 13-11,
Abhimanyu Mitra (WB) bt Shreyas Kulkarni (KNT) 11-9,11-7, 11-4, 11-8,
Siddesh Pande (Mhr-A) bt Sarthak Seth (UP) 11-6, 11-6,12-10, 11-6.
*Junior Girls*: *Final*: Archana Kamath (AAI) bt R. Harshavardhini (TN)11-8, 11-2, 11-9, 11-9;
*Semifinals*: R. Harshavardhini (TN) bt Shailu Noorbasha (AP) 11-8, 11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 7-11, 11-5,
Archana Kamath (AAI) bt Selenadeepthi Selvakumar (TN) 11-8, 11-2, 11-13, 10-12, 11-4, 9-11, 15-13;
*Quarterfinals*: Shailu Noorbasha (AP) bt Priyanka Pareek (Raj) 11-7, 11-9,11-9, 8-11, 11-5, R. Harshavardhini (TN) bt Abhinaya Ramesh (TN) 10-12,11-7, 10-12, 11-5, 3-11, 11-5, 12-10,
Archana Kamath (AAI) bt YashiniSivashankar (TN) 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5, Selenadeepthi Selvakumar (TN) bt Tanisi Kirtane (Goa) 11-5, 11-3, 6-11, 11-7 9-11, 11-8.
*Men’s singles*: *PQF*: Soumyajit Ghosh (PSPB) bt Souvik Kar (WB) 11-7,12-10, 7-11, 11-5, 8-11, 10-12, 11-3,
Nithin Thiruvenkadam (CB) bt Jubin Kumar (PSPB) 10-12, 13-11, 11-7, 11-6, 2-11, 8-11, 11-4, Devesh Karia (Guj) bt Abhishek Yadav (PSPB) 11-8, 11-7, 4-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-2,
G. Sathiyan (PSPB) bt Sanish Ambekar (Mhr-A) 11-5, 11-3, 11-5, 11-6,
Sanil Shetty (PSPB) bt Anirban Nandi (RSPB) 11-9, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8,
Anthony Amalraj (PSPB) bt Subhajit Saha (PSPB) 11-5, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9,
Sudhanshu Grover (PSPB) bt Raj Mondal (RBI) 11-2, 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8,
Harmeet Desai (PSPB) Anirban Ghosh (WB) 11-9, 12-10, 9-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-5.
*Women’s singles*: *PQF*: Manika Batra (PSPB) bt Shreya Ghosh (RSPB) 11-9,11-2, 11-6, 11-7, Pooja Sahasrabudhe (PSPB) bt Maria Rony (AAI) 11-6, 11-2,11-3, 11-8,
Divya Deshpande (Mhr-A) bt Krittwika Sinha Roy (RBI) 11-3,10-12, 12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, Anindita Chakraborty (RSPB) bt K. Shamini (PSPB) 12-10, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 13-15, 11-5,
Mouma Das (PSPB) bt Reeth Rishya (PSPB) 9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-4, 11-9,
Ayhika Mukherjee (AAI) bt Madhurika Patkar (Mhr-A) 11-13, 6-11, 8-11, 15-13, 11-4, 11-7,
Nikhat Banu (AAI) bt Mousumi Paul (PSPB) 11-7, 11-9, 14-16, 11-8,6-11, 12-10,
Ankita Das (PSPB) bt Shweta Parte (RBI) 11-6, 9-11, 11-13,4-11, 15-13, 11-9, 11-9.