Sonepat: Haryana girls lived up to expectations to blank out top-seeded Delhi 3-0 and emerge champion in the women team championships of the UTT National Ranking (North Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the DPS School, here today.
The easy win for the hosts was championed by Sutirtha Mukherjee, Oishwarya Deb and Riti Shankar as they polished off opponents Vanshika Bhargava, Garima Goyal and Kritika Malik in style. Except for the second rubber, in which Oishwarya was stretched fully, the other two Haryana girls had it rather easy.
As anticipated, Haryana men will take on Delhi men tomorrow in the final. In their semi-final matches, Haryana defeated Rajasthan 3-0, while Delhi accounted for Punjab, by the same margin.
Earlier in the semis, Haryana girls beat Rajasthan 3-0 as Sutirtha Mukehrjee, Suhana Saini and Anjali Rohilla did their job to perfection. Similarly, Punjab was no match to Delhi as Vanshika, Garima and Tamanna Saini notched up a 3-0 triumph.
Meanwhile, in the singles events beginning tomorrow India’s top-ranked players in the world—G. Sathiyan, A. Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra—have chosen to opt out of the season-opener. This may have taken the sheen off the championships here, but would certainly provide the opportunity to the rest of the field, including the India hopefuls to make a good progress.
However, the other top Indians guns are very much in fray with Manav Thakkar getting the top billing in men singles when the open seeding took place today. Amalraj, who is seeded No. 2, could be running into the top-seeded Manav in the title clash.
As for women singles, reigning national champion Archana Kamath got the top-seeding position with former national champion Madhurika Patkar at No. 2. However, Krittwika Sinha Roy, who finished runner-up at the Cuttack Nationals, finds herself in the bottom half of the draw and seeded at No. 7.
The qualification events in women singles begin tomorrow and it would be followed by men singles. The competition department of TTFI has discontinued with the system of picking two qualifiers from each group for the main draw after finding the process somewhat cumbersome. From this season, it will be only one qualifier from each group will go through to the second stage, which is a knock-out.
The results (TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS):
Women: Final: Haryana bt Delhi 3-0 (Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Vanshika Bhargava 11-4, 12-10, 11-8, Oishwarya Deb bt Garima Goyal 11-8, 5-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9, Riti Shankar bt Kritika Malik 14-12, 11-9, 11-7.
Semi-finals: Delhi bt Punjab 3-0 (Vanshika Bhargava bt Ananya Thakur 12-10, 11-7, 11-7, Garima Goyal bt Neha Patial 11-5, 11-6, 11-6, Tamanna Saini bt Aarushi Arora 11-6, 11-4, 11-3; Haryana bt Rajasthan 3-0 (Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Iti Sharma 11-7, 11-7, 11-8, Suhana Saini bt Nikita Rautela 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, Anjali Rohilla bt Manisha Sharma 11-5, 11-8, 10-12, 8-11, 11-6.
Men (Semi-finals): Delhi bt Punjab 3-0 (Utkarsh Gupta bt Nikhil Kumar 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, Payas Jain bt Harnooor Singh 12-10, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, Aadarsh Om Chetri bt Kartik Dogra 11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5); Haryana bt Rajasthan 3-0 (Jeet Chandra bt Shubham Ojha 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, Soumyajit Ghosh bt Vivek Bhargava 11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 11-6, Sourav Saha bt Anukram Jain 11-9, 11-7, 115).
Top 8 seeds:
Men: Manav Thakkar, Anthony Amalraj, Sudhanshu Grover, Arjun Ghosh, Sanil Shetty, Siddesh Pandey, Sushmit Sriram and Anirban Ghosh.
Women: Archana Kamath, Madhurika Patkar, Sagarika Mukherjee, Sutirtha Mukherjee, Pooa Sahasrabudhe, Divya Deshpande, Krittwika Sinha Roy ad Ayhika Mukherjee.