Manika, Sreeja move up with other seeds

Jammu, Mar 25 (PTI) Top-seeded Manika Batra and second-seeded Sreeja Akula, also the defending champion, made short work of their respective opponents in women’s singles to enter the Round of 32 in the 84th Senior National Table Tennis Championships here on Saturday.

Other seeded players, including Reeth Rishya, Diya Chitale, Sutirtha Mukherjee, Anusha Kutumbale, Swastika Ghosh and Prapti Sen scored easy wins to join the leaders in the race for the crown and the top prize purse.

But what aroused interest were the matches that went down to the wire, including the one between former national champion Ankita Das from PSPB and Pelf from Chandigarh and between Shamini Kumareshan, also a former national champion, and Deshna Vanshika from Karnataka.

Though Ankita advanced, Shamini could not.

Ankita did not begin well and conceded two of the first three games to the Chandigarh qualifier. But the inexperienced Pelf, too, suffered in the next and allowed the Olympian to restore parity.

Yet, Pelf made another desperate attempt to go ahead of her known rival before succumbing to the pressure and yielded.

On the other hand, Deshna Vanshika of Karnataka went 2-0 up before the mother of two kids inched her way up slowly to take her first game. But Shamini’s inconsistency helped the Karnataka girl further strengthen her position.

However, the old warhorse fought back well to pull level at 3-3 and take the issue to the decider. Deshna came up with trumps to wrap it up 12-10.

Another former national champion and qualifier, Archana Kamath advanced, beating Dipanwita Basu of West Bengal, also a qualifier, 12-10 11-5 11-4 11-2.

Suhana Saini of Haryana had a close fight with Trisha Gogoi of Assam before moving ahead with a 4-2 win. However, it was a struggle for Moumita Datta of West Bengal against Tamil Nadu’s Deepika Neelakandan.

Moumita led 3-1, but Deepika levelled 3-3 in a strong comeback. Yet, the Bengal girl closed her out at the crucial junction to win.

The men’s paddlers, including the top 16 seeds, will play their Round of 64 next.

Source: PTI News


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