Thiruvananthapuram: Telangana’s men surprised Tamil Nadu with a 3-2 verdict while Tamil Nadu’s women didn’t let the chance slip by as they beat Telangana 3-1 in the finals of the UTT National Ranking (South Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Jimmy George Indoor Stadium here today.
The men final lingered on for nearly three hours with all but one tie going the full distance when Mohammed Ali put an end to the ordeal with a 3-1 win over Nikhil Suresh of Tamil Nadu. The intense final for supremacy in the south zone was obvious when Tamil Nadu began well with Nitin Thiruvengadam giving a solid start only to lose the advantage when SFR Snehit levelled the score for Telangana.
In the next, Ananth Devarajan beat Aman Balgu but it was left to Snehit and Ali to snatch the last two ties to seal their rivals fate.
In women’s final, the inevitable was a bit delayed by Telangana’s Varuni Jaiswal and, to some extent, by Monica Manohar, their third player, before Tamil Nadu overcame that phase to lift the women team title with a 3-1 verdict. Selenadeepthi Selvakumar was the star player for Tamil Nadu as she won both her singles, leaving no doubt for anybody about their domination, at least in the final.
Varuni did well to beat Yashini Sivashankar in straight games to level the score. And Monica fought well to lead 2-1 in her singles against Deepika but the Taml Nadu girl was up to her task to win 3-2, leaving Selena to do the finishing job.
With team championships for the South limited to six team in each section, the top two teams Tamil Nadu and Karnataka (men) and Telangana and Tamil Nadu (women) were directly seeded into the semi-finals, ensuring the bronze medals for their teams.
But, contrary to expectations, Telangana’s men upset Karnataka with a 3-1 verdict to storm into the final. In the other semi-fiinal, it was business as usual for Tamil Nadu who downed Kerala—the hosts had blanked out Pondicherry 3-0 in the quarters—3-1 to enter the final.
For Kerala, in their semifinal, Soham Bhattacharya did not begin as well as he was expected to against experienced Nitin but Senthil Kumar fared well against Ananth Devarajan to upset him and level the score. But that win proved to be a flash in the pan as Nikhil Suresh and Nitin finished it off in style to leave the hosts with the bronze medal along with Karnataka, who could not up the game against SFR Snehit, Mohammed Ali and Aman Balgu.
But Karnataka women had made Tamil Nadu bleed, taking their semifinal clash to the decider. After Kushi Viswanath was the standout player with her excellent fight backs in both her opening tie as well as in the decider. Selena and Yashini were made to hop as Kushi played brilliantly to take Karnataka to the edge of the final. But she lost both her matches 2-3, first to Selena and then to Yashini.
In fact, Tamil Nadu girls were sitting pretty with a 2-0 lead before Yashaswini Ghorpade provided the spark with a win over Shanmathi. Then Maria Rony cashed in on the situation with a win over Selena, whom she beat 3-2. But in the decider Yashini, despite her struggle throughout, won the fifth game on extended points to deny Karnataka a final entry.
In the other semifinal, Telangana easily beat Andhra Pradesh 3-1 to earn a final meeting with Tamil Nadu.
Earlier, the championships were inaugurated by state governor Justice (Retd) P. Sathasivam.
Results (Team Championships):
Men: Final: Telangana bt Tamil Nadu 3-2 (Mohammed Ali lost to Nitin Thiruvengadam bt 4-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-13; SFR Snehit bt Nikhil Suresh 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-8; Aman Balgu lost to Ananth Devaajan 7-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 7-11; Snehit bt N. Thiruvengadam 12-10, 11-8, 5-11, 5-11, 11-5; Mohammed Ali bt N. Suresh 11-8, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9); Semi-finals: Tamil Nadu bt Kerala 3-1 (N. Thiruvengadam bt Soham Bhattacharya 15-13, 11-5, 11-3; Ananth Devarajan lost to Senthil Kumar 11-5, 6-11, 7-11, 11-5, 7-11; Nihil Suresh bt Udit Bhattacharjee 11-4, 11-7, 13-11; N. Thiruvengadam bt Senthil Kumar 11-9, 11-5, 7-11, 11-5); Telangana bt Karnataka 3-1 (SFR Snehit bt Anirban Roychoudhary 11-5, 11-9, 11-6; Mohammed Ali lost to Shreyal Telang 11-3, 4-11, 8-11, 8-11; Aman Balgu bt Shreyas Kulkarni 11-7, 11-6, 11-5; SFR Snehit bt Shreyal Telang 11-7, 13-11, 11-8).
Quarterfinals: Kerala bt Pondicherry 3-0; Telangana bt Andhra Pradesh 3-0.
Women: Final: Tamil Nadu bt Telangana 3-1 (Selenadeepthi Selvakumar bt Naina 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9; Yashini Sivashankar lost to Varuni Jaiswal 4-11, 8-11, 9-11; Deepika Neelakandan bt Monica Manohar 8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-4, 11-6; Selenadeepthi S bt Varuni Jaiswal 10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8).
Semi-finals: Telangana bt Andhra Pradesh 3-1 (Monica Manohar lost to Shaulu Noorbasha 11-7, 6-11, 6-11, 11-4, 9-11; Varuni Jaiswal bt Kanol Ramjali 11-5, 11-6, 7-11, 8-11, 11-9; Pranitha Garlapati bt Bt Nagaravani 11-5, 11-3, 13-11; Varuni Jaiswal bt Shailu Noorbasha 10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5); Tamil Nadu bt Karnataka 3-2 (Selenadeepthi Selvakumar bt Kushi Viswanath 11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8; Yashini Sivashankar bt Maria Rony 11-3, 11-8, 7-11, 12-14, 11-3; Shanmathi Sathyamoorthy lost to Yashaswini Ghorpade 12-14, 14-12, 7-11, 11-6, 6-11; Selenadeepthi S lost to Maria Rony 8-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8, 6-11; Yashini S bt Kushi Viswanath 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10).
Quarterfinals: Andhra Pradesh bt Kerala 3-0; Karnataka bt Pondicherry 3-0.