Unheralded players have field day as big names tumble out of National Ranking (North Zone) Table Tennis

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Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: Sixth seeded Divya Deshpande joined the growing list of ranked players making their exit as she lost to Sreeja Akula of RBI 3-4 in the first round of the Women’s main draw in the UTT National Ranking (North Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the DPS School, Sonepat, (Haryana) on Wednesday.

Late last evening Pooja Sahasrabudhe, seeded No. 5, Krittwika Sinha Roy, No. 7 and the eighth seed Ayhika Mukherjee had crashed out

Divya lost to Sreeja Akula, after putting up a good fight. The RBI player, down 1-2, launched herself well against a docile Divya to lead 3-2 before the PSPB woman pulled back nicely in the sixth game to keep her interests alive.

Then some crucial errors saw Divya struggling in the decider which the RBI girl cashed in on to win by minimal points and enter the quarterfinals. But for this one aberration in the pre-quarterfinals, the remaining women seed took their appointed place and would be playing their quarterfinals later tonight.

The other women that went through to the quarters included top four seeds—Archana Kamath, Madhurika Patkar, Sagarika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee.

In men singles pre-quarterfinals, Manav Thakkar who survived a scare in against Delhi’s Payas Jain in the first round—the top-seeded player was down 0-3—showed his authority against as he nicely settled in to beat let-handed Abhishek Yadav, who has shifted to UP, 4-0.

The comeback man, Soumyajit Ghosh who was rusty yesterday pounced on the opportunity to beat the Youth national champion Manush Shah 4-1, while it was a shock exit for fourth-seed Arjun Ghosh to bow out of the championships as he went down to Haryana’s Jeet Chandra 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 9-11, 8-11 for one of his worst showings. Yesterday, Anirban Ghosh was felled by Soumyajit.

Third-seeded Sudhanshu Grover struggled before overcoming another Haryana paddler, Sourav Saha, who is among the top 16 seeds. The 4-2 win for Grover would bring back the confidence in him in the next round, where he would be running into Harmeet Desai who beat Kiranjoy Pushilal 4-0.

Haryana’s Jubin Kumar, too, struggled but managed to put it across Abhimanyu Mitra of IA & AD 4-3 while second-seeded Anthony Amalraj was in his elements to down Ronit Bhanja of West Bengal 4-1.

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