Soumyadeep Roy survives first-round scare; four Delhi girls make main-draw cut

ttNew Delhi: After a long time in recent years, four Delhi girls—Shrishti Gupta, Harsha Kalra, Aanchal Malhotra and Kritika Malik—made the qualification cut to enter the Junior Girls main draw in the Vatika National Ranking (North Zone) Table Tennis Championships, being played at the Hansraj Model School, here on Thursday.

But four others, out of a total of eight entries, could not make the grade and bowed out in group stages.

Of the four qualifiers, three of had more or less easy outings while Kritika Malik, placed in one of the top groups of 24, had to really play out of her skin in a third round match against Tamil Nadu’s Harini Udaya Kumar to grab the main draw spot.

Kritika beat Harini 3-2 (4-11, 11-3, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8) in a match that lasted 40 minutes. The Delhi girl opened very badly to lose the first game but came back nicely to take the next two. Harini, not the one to give up easily, fought back well and levelled the score to take the issue to the decider. In the decider, Kritika had a sizeable lead and was never in discomfort as the Tamil Nadu girl, committing a few errors, only hastened the result.

As for Harsha, Shritsti and Aanchal, it was all easy for them against their third round opponents, having already won the earlier rounds. So there was no ambiguity about who will go on to lead the groups 6, 11, and 17. Harsha beat Rama Sisodia of Rajasthan 3-0 in her last group match while Shristi downed North Bengal’s Sataporni De by the same margin and Aanchal accounted for Vidhi Shah Ameet of Maharashtra, which also produced a 3-0 verdict.

Unrelenting Roy

The unrelenting former national champion Soumyadeep Roy continued to struggle but held on to survive the first round exit during the men’s singles qualification. The PSPB veteran had to muster all his strength and experience to outsmart Punjab’s Rohan Sahni 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8.

The Punjab lad, patient and bold, did well to comeback in the match after being down 1-2. He not only equalized the score at 2-2 but also sent some shivers into his opponent’s mind by closing in on at 7-8 in the decider. But the experience of Roy stood the former national champion in good stead as he went on to wrap it up quickly in group 30.

But for Sourav Chakravary, also a former national champion, it was not a lucky first-round outing. The PSPB player, playing from his memories, met the fate as Tamil Nadu’s Sivananda Seshadri routed him 11-9, 11-2, 11-6 in a group 25 match.

Roy, who has a couple of matches in the group stage like Sourav, can be expected to make it to the 2nd Stage, Sourav Chakravarty’s first-round loss could cost him dear.

In other interesting first-round matches in men’s singles, Gujarat’s Jignesh Jaiswal struggled to overcome Shubham Ambrea of Mahrashtra 11-3, 12-14, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, PSPB’s Lalhunhlua, who won 3-2 (11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-0), found the going tough against Susmith Barigidad of Karnataka and Maharashtra’s Jash Davi continued to surprise with his excellent game plans to beat North Bengal’s Rajib Sarkar 9-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9, after being woefully placed in the early stages of the match. In a surprise first round outing in group 40, Delhi’s Ansul Garg beat Gujarat’s Harsh Sachanandani 11-8, 13-11, 11-7 and in the process pushing Harsh to the corner.

In women’s singles first round affairs, Tamil Nadu’s Abhinaya Ramesh defeated Megha Maitra of West Bengal 4-11, 9-11, 14-12, 11-7, 11-9 in an interesting duel in group 13. But Manisha Mukherjee, also from West Bengal, overcame Telangana’s Varuni Jaiswal 11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-5 in group 24 and Rajasthan’s Priyanka Pareek beat RBI’s Kakoli Lahkar 11-7, 13-11, 12-14, 10-12, 11-4 in group 23.

In other group matches, Gujarat’s Chipia Frenaz defeated Kritika Malik of Delhi 11-8, 11-8, 7-11, 18-16. The match saw several deuces and four match-points being saved by the Delhi girl who had every chance of taking match into the decider. But her state mate Aanchal Malhotra had a smooth first-round passage, beating North Bengal’s Puja Paul 3-0.

Haryana’s Riti Shankar accounted for Uttarakhand’s Vinita Negi 11-8, 11-1, 11-9 in a one-sided first round outing, AAI’s Sereha Jacob beat Anushree Hazra of the Railwasy 3-1 and Archana Kamath, also from Karnataka but playes for AAI, beat state mate Kshi Viswanath 11-8, 11-2, 11-8.