Ghosh regains crown; Manika’s double fetches her a pay dirt too


Ghosh regains crown; Manika’s double fetches her a pay dirt too
TTFI North Zone



New Delhi, November 7: The dice, definitely, was rolling in favour of national champion Soumyajit Ghosh. Otherwise, how can one explain the loss of Anthony Amalraj who was on the verge of completing a hat-trick of men’s
singles title at the Vatika National Ranking (North Zone) Table Tennis Championships, which concluded at the Hansraj Model School, here today?

At 10-6, Amalraj was just away from wrapping it up, but Ghosh not only saved four match-points but went on to beat his PSPB rival 12-10 in the decider for his second title this season, after South Zone triumph at Chennai. Ghosh won 4-3 and Rs. 66,000. Amalraj, forlorn, had to be satisfied with half the amount and the runner-up position.

Double for Manika

In the women’s final, Manika Batra finally completed a double beating Mouma Das 4-0 in what was a totally one-sided affair. Mouma, known for her gutsy performance, was unable to confront a hot-in-form Manika, who backhand did more wonders than her forehands. Of course, there were few furious forehands as well which had elicited no answer from Mouma. Manika’s both titles earned her a total prize purse of Rs. 79, 200. Incidentally, she had
won a double at the same venue two years ago.

Amalraj, who was leading 2-1, had to counter really well and come back to level when Ghosh went 3-2 up. The Chennai lad did well to bounce back in contention with a sizeable lead. But two good winners from Ghosh, and two
lucky points, courtesy Amalraj, helped the Siliguri lad level 10-all. Taking the advantage, Ghosh completed his win to the chagrin of a quiet Amalraj!

Ghosh, who will be skipping the East Zone event at Guwahati, is headed straight to Sweden for another round of league games there, having sealed his place in the Indian team with 300 points for the Commonwealth Games at
Surat this December. He is behind Amalraj who leads the pack with 345 points, but Ghosh can afford to miss the last zonal.

Grover back in groove

Sudhanshu Grover was in groove today to win his first Youth Boys title this season, beating West Bengal’s Arjun Ghosh 4-3. Sudhanshu had reached the final at Chennai but lost to colleague Abhishek Yadav while Arjun had won
the title at Thane during the West Zone championships.

It was a good fight in which Arjun had the upper hand but he let the chance go by when Sudhanshu played remarkably well—the match saw good, long rallies and pace—to recover from 2-3 position to win over his rival. The
PSPB boy really played well in the last two games which brooked little challenge from Arjun.

For Manika, it was back-to-back Youth title and she had very little to do against team mate Reeth Rishya who was patchy today. That she was able to win just one game tells the whole story as Manika disposed of her 4-1 in
less than half an hour.

Reeth had won both the South and Central Zone titles, beating Ayhika Mukherjee and Manika, respectively. Manika’s final opponent at Thane was Moumita Datta of West Bengal.

Unlike the men’s singles semifinals, which were one-sided, the women’s singles semifinals were gripping and intense. Manika Batra yet again came from behind to score another thrilling win over Maharashra’s Divya
Deshpande, the title winner at Jamnagar. Yet Manika led by the fifth game but allowed Divya to level the score in the next, making the decider even more thrilling. Divya was 10-7 up and squandered her first match point as
Manika made it 10-10. From there it could have been anybody’s match and Divya had another match-point go waste and Manika pounced on her chance to win the game and match.

Mouma-Madhurika match too reached its crescendo with fortunes swinging from one extreme to another. When Madhurika levelled at 3-3 on extended points, the decider had all the trappings of the first semifinal. Madhurika saved a
match-point but Mouma was not the one to give any more leeway as she won in the second opportunity.

In Youth Boys, Sudhanshu Grover had to labour against Manav Thakkar to enter the final with a 4-3 verdict while it was easy 4-1 win for Arjun Ghosh against Abhishek Yadav. In the girls’ affairs, both the AAI paddlers—Ayhika Mukherjee and Sreeja Akula—lost to Reeth Rishya and Manika Batra. It will be interesting to see if Manika, who is in women’s singles and Youth Girls singles finals, can win both titles.


Youth Boys:
Final: Sudhanshu Grover (PSPB) bt Arjun Ghosh (WB) 4-3 (11-13, 11-5, 9-11 11-6, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7);
Semifinals: Sudhanshu Grover bt Manav Thakkar (PSPBA) 4-3 (13-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-3),
Arjun Ghosh bt Abhishek Yadav (PSPB) 4-1 (11-9, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 13-11).

Youth Girls:
Final: Manika Batra (PSPB) bt Reeth Rishya (PSPB) 4-1 (11-9, 11-8, 3-11, 11-7, 11-6);
Semifinals: Reeth Rishya bt Ayhika Mukherjee (AAI) 4-0 (11-2, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8),
Manika Batra bt Sreeja Akula (AAI) 11-6, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6).

Men’s singles:
Final: Soumyait Ghosh (PSPB) bt Anthony Amalraj (PSPB) 4-3 (6-11, 12-10, 15-17, 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10); Semifinals: Anthony Amalraj bt Subhajit Saha (PSPB) 4-1 (1-11, 11-6, 11-6, 14-12, 11-9),
Soumyajit Ghosh bt Devesh Karia (Guj) 4-1 (11-5, 11-3, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7).

Women’s singles:
Final: Manika Batra (PSPB) bt Mouma Das (PSPB) 4-0 (11-5, 11-2, 11-8, 12-10);
Semifinals: Manika Batra bt Divya Deshpande (Mah) 4-3 (8-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 13-11),
Mouma Das bt Madhurika Patkar (PSPB) 4-3 (11-5, 5-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-13, 12-10).

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