Thane: Sreeja Akula of RBI stole the limelight as she accounted for top-seeded Sutirtha Mukherjee 4-3 to move into the semi finals of the women singles of the UTT National Ranking (West Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Sulochana Devi Singhania School here today.
The Telangana girl converted her sixth match-point in a tense quarterfinal. Down 0-2, she made a remarkable recovery but when Sutirtha levelled the score 3-3 it was anybody’s match. But Sutirtha failed to keep her nerves while Sreeja did.
In another quarterfinal, Diya Chitale beat Nikhat Banu of RBI 4-3. Used to her comeback wins, the Mumbai girl notched up a fine win to move into the semi-finals. In other matches, both Railway women Kaushini Nath and Takeme Sarkar entered the semis beating Anusha Kutumbale 4-1 and Reeth Rishya 4-0, respectively.
In the men’s section of the four Haryana paddlers in fray, only Jeet Chandra made it to the semi-final Others—Soumyajit Ghosh, Jubin Kumar and Sourav Saha—failed to produce their pre-quarterfinal form to bow out of the championships.
Jeet, the saving grace for Haryana, couldn’t have asked for a better quarterfinal outing as he made it rather simple against a normally fighting Raj Mondal. The RBI paddler was in total discomfort against the Haryana lad that he had given up by the time the match reached the fourth game. Already leading 3-0, Jeet just pushed his rival to the corner and Raj wilted under pressure.
Soumyajit Ghosh, who showed promised in Howrah during the East Zone championships, was patchy against top-seed Manav Thakkar who led 3-0 before conceding the fourth game. But he soon won the fifth to seal Ghosh’s fate. In other quarterfinals, second-seed Sanil blanked out Sourav Saha of Haryana 4-0 and Manush Shah meted out the same treatment to Jubin Kumar, also of Haryana.
In pre-quarterfinals, Sanil Shetty was the lone paddler who won in straight games against UP’s Abhishek Yadav what was the left-handers’ match. But for Sanil, all other quarterfinal entrants, including top-seed Manav Thakkar, dropped at least one game against their opponents.
The best match in the Round of 32 was between Raj Mondal of RBI and Anirban Ghosh of the Railways. The experienced Mondal overcame initial blues to subdue Anirban, particularly mustering courage in the decider after deuce. Mondal won the next two crucial points to make the most of his chance.
Earlier, Manav had the measure of Sougata Sarkar despite dropping a game to him while Haryana’s Soumyajit Ghosh disposed of Arjun Ghosh of West Bengal 4-1, Gujarat’s Manush Shah defeated Birdie Bora of PSPB 4-1, Haryana lefty Jubin Kumar accounted for Akash Pal of West Bengal by a similar margin and Jeet Chandra took an extra game to overcome Subhajit Saha of PSPB while Sourav Saha, also from Haryana, downed Abhimanyu Mitra, also of West Bengal 4-2.
However, in women singles R32 three winners had close calls as their fighting opponents not only took the issue to the decider but kept their chances floating all the time until they faded out. But second-seeded Ayhika Mukherjee failed to keep her chances alive as she went down 0-4 to Kaushani Nath of West Bengal tamely.
After Haryana’s Sutirtha Mukehrjee posted an easy 4-0 win over Prapti Sen of West Bengal, young Sreeja Akula beat the stuffing out of Divya Deshpande while Nikhat Banu escaped from web woven by Selenadeepthi Selvakumar of Tamil Nadu to win 4-3 and Reeth Rishya, playing from her memory, wore out Railways Sagarika Mukherjee by an identical margin.
Yesterday evening, other sees to bow out included Archana Kamath and Madhurika Patkar bowed out with little fight to qualifiers in the second round.
Another second round victim was the local girl, Shruti Amrute who, after leading 7-4 and 10-8 in the decider, lost to Diya Chitale. The latter played a fantastic comeback game to enter the pre-quarters. Today morning, Mumbai girl defeated Poymantee Baisya of West Bengal 4-1 to secure her quarterfinal berth.
Men singles: Quarterfinals: Manav Thakkar (PSPB) bt Soumyajit Ghosh (Har) 11-5, 11-4, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10; Manush Shah (Guj) bt Jubin Kumar (Har) 11-5, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3; Jeet Chandra (Har) bt Raj Mondal (RBI) 11-7, 11-9, 11-9, 11-4; Sanil Shetty (PSPB) bt Sourav Saha (Har) 11-1, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8.
Women singles: Quarterfinals: Sreeja Akula (RBI) bt Sutirtha Mukherjee (Har) 5-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7, 5-11, 18-16; Diya Chitale (Mah) bt Nikhat Banu (RBI) 3-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7; Takeme Sarkar (Rlys) bt Reeth Rishya 11-5, 11-5, 11-5, 12-10; Kaushani Nath (Rlys) bt Anusha Kutumbala (MP) 11-4, 11-9, 11-13, 11-6, 11-6.