Seeds wither in dry Gujarat; Devesh carries local hopes in men’s singles


Day 4

TTFI TTFI Jamnagar, October 9: As many as four seeded-players, three in the Junior Boys and one in the Junior Girls, fell by the wayside in the ongoing JMC National Ranking (Central Zone) Table Tennis Championships, being held at the JMC Indoor Stadium, here today. The biggest of them all were No. 4 seeds Sarthak Seth from UP and Seleenadeepthi Selvakumar of Tamil Nadu, who bowed out to qualifiers Wesley Do Rosario of Goa and Prapti Sen of West Bengal, respectively. Selena lost in straight games of 8-11, 7-11, 7-11 in the first round itself while Sarthak made his exit in the second, after having received first-round byes. The Goan boy won 11-9, 11-8, 11-6. Qualifier Ashwin Subramanian from Maharashtra benefited from state mate Shaurya Pednekar’s walkover while another qualifier Akash Nath from West Bengal defeated No. 8 Shreyas Kulkarni from Karnataka 13-11, 11-2, 11-4 to keep the matter simple and straight. It was a coincident that all the three boys were from the top-half of the draw as all the seeded players in the bottom half moved into the pre-quarterfinals. Though top-seed Ronit Bhanja from West Bengal struggled, he won against Maharashtra’s Jash Dalvi 14-12, 11-9, 2-11, 11-7. The Maharashtra lad played brilliantly to keep himself in the game but Ronit’s experience stood him in good stead. But the best match was between two qualifiers Raegan Albuquerque of PSPBA and TN’s R. Sathyanarayanan which the latter won 14-12, 11-8, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7. The Academy boy, who never gives up even after being down in the dumps, showed exemplary courage to level the score only to go down in the decider. It must have come as a big shock to Selenadeepthi, who formed part of the top-half of the main draw in Junior Girls, because sub-junior Prapti Sen did not have to sweat it out much even in the cauldron-like atmosphere of Jamnagar. But another Tamil Nadu girl and No. 2 seed, R. Harshavardhini survived a scare from North Bengal’s Puja Paul, who kept her rival on tenterhooks. The TN girl won the hard-fought battle 8-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9, after her opponent saved a match-point at 10-8. Both winners in Junior Boys and Junior Girls play their pre-quarterfinals round later tonight. The women’s singles, which has entered the main draw stage, will see matches being played this evening. They will be followed by the men’s singles. PSPB’s Manika Batra and Pooja Sahastrabudhe are seeded No. 1 and 2 in the women’s singles, the main draw of which is of 32 players. K. Shamini, Madhurika Patkar, Anindita Chakraborty, Mouma Das, Krittwika Sinha Roy and Nikhat Banu follow the top two in that order or seeding. All top four seeds—Harmeet Desai, Anthony Amalraj, G. Sathiyan and Sanil Shankar Shetty—pack a real punch, representing the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board with Sudhanshu Grover, also from the PSPB, is seeded at No.6. The fifth spot has gone to Gujarat’s Devesh Karia while the No. 6 and No. 7 slots have come the way of Anirban Ghosh (WB) and Nitin Thiruvengadam of Canara Bank.

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