Harpal Singh Bedi
Surat: Telangana’s F R Snehit and Maharashtra’s Deepit Patil accounted for third seed Sanil Shetty and fifth seed Anirban Ghosh respectively to reach the quarterfinals of the men’s singles table tennis event in the 36th National Games here on Friday.
The top two seeds, G Sathiyan and A Sharath Kamal as well as women’s No. 1 seed Manika Batra had to fight it out before making it to the quarterfinals.
Snehit displayed a wide range of his strokes to get the better of left-handed Shetty in a match that could have gone either way.
The Telangana lad drew first blood winning the opening game in extended points but Shetty imposed himself and took a 2-1 lead.
Another marathon game helped Snehit restore parity. The players stayed neck and neck in the next few games with the youngster showing nerves of steel to clinch the match.
Earlier, Patil fought back from a 0-2 deficit to beat Ghosh 4-3. Ghosh did manage to win one more set in the match but his frustration was visible in his reaction to losing points and even got a red card.
Patil remained composed even while trailing 3-5 in the decider and closed the match by winning eight of the next 10 points.
In the quarterfinal, he will face local hero Harmeet Desai, who thrashed Uttar Pradesh’s Sarthak Seth 4-0.
In the women’s singles, three seeded players were sent packing in the pre-quarterfinal stage while top seed Manika Batra was given a run for her money by Karnataka’s Kushi V, scraping through to a 3-2 win.
The Karnataka paddler knew that she had nothing to lose while playing against Batra and took the attack to her opponent.
Having lost the opening game, Batra took the next two to take the lead but Kushi did well to keep pace with the world No. 45 and took the match in the decider.
Batra took 5-1 lead at the change of ends in the 7th and final set but Kushi showed resilience and belief in her attack to level scores at 7-7.
But a wrong shot selection allowed Batra to once again take the lead and the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist then wrapped up the match by forcing her opponent into making an error.
“I went into the match with a clear thought of not getting overawed by my opponent’s stature and play her like just any other opponent. I had a chance to win today but it’s disappointing that I could not find a way to win,” Kushi said.
Bengal’s Ayhika Mukherjee’s prowess with the odd rubber was too much to handle for seventh seed Swastika Ghosh of Maharashtra, who went down 0-4.
Olympian Sutirtha Mukherjee dominated fifth-seeded Anusha Kutumbale (Madhya Pradesh) 4-0 while local hope Krittwika Sinha Roy proved too good for eighth seed Takeme Sarkar in a straight-set victory.
Krittwika will now face Batra in the quarterfinals while Ayhika will meet second seed Sreeja Akula.
Earlier Krittwika had assured herself a mixed doubles medal after Manush Shah and she defeated Uttar Pradesh’s Abhishek Yadav and Suhana Narjinary in straight sets to reach the semi-finals.