Indore: The first-round group qualifications matches were fought as intensely as one would have expected them to be in the UTT 82nd Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships, at the Abhay Prashal here today.
Mannika Kesar of Delhi struggled against a determined Ananya Thakur from Punjab. Despite winning the first game on extended points, Mannika fell back allowing Ananya to stage a recovery to lead 2-1. The Delhi girl won the fourth and took the issue to the decider and Mannika won again on extended points.
Kanmani Rao from Polidcherry was 1-2 down against Punjab’s Sehajpreet Kaur before gathering herself to win it 3-2. Annya Barady, also from Pondicherry, defeated Charmi Patel of Gujarat in a tough battle while another Pondicherry girl, J. Isshani, defeated Prutha Prabhu of Goa 3-2.
Among the wildcard entrants, Shrubabati Moitra defeated Anushka Basak from Bengal 3-2, but not before winning the first two games on extended points. Yet, the Bengal girl managed to take two games of her to mount pressure. In the decider, however, Shrubabti won to strengthen her qualification chances in her group.
Nividitha Balusuri, also a TTFI wildcard, defeated Kausha Bhairapure of Gujarat for a similar score after the latter had a distinct advantage of 2-1 lead. Credit must go to Nividitha who fought back to make a match of it.
In the Junior Girls, Pranati P. Nair of Kerala defeated Haryana’s Preksha Vohra 3-2. The Kerala paddler was comfortably placed at 2-0 but let her Haryana rival off the hook allowing her to level the score. In the crucial last game, Pranati came good to clinch it. Sathvika Srinivasan downed Ekta from Punjab 3-2. But it was the Punjab girl who lost the 2-0 advantage to let her opponent claw her way back slowly to overshadow her. As in the Youth Girls, Ananya Barady from Pondicherry also won her first-round match in the Junior Girls section, beating Assam’s Harshita Das in a thriller.
Junior Girls: First Round: Pranati P. Nair (Ker) bt Preksha Vohra (Har) 11-4, 12-10, 6-11, 4-11, 13-11, Aafrien Murad (Guj) bt Sikriti Bhagat (Odi) 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, Aneri Gada (MP) bt Najida Sheikh (Goa) 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, Sathvika Srinivasan (TTFI) bt Ekta (Pun) 10-12, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7, 11-1, Ananya Barady (Pon) bt Harshita Das (Asm)15-17, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-5.
Youth Girls: First Round: Mannika Kesar (Del) bt Ananya Thakur (Pun) 15-13, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6, 13-11, K. Kanmani Rao (Pon) bt Sehajpreet Kaur (Pun) 7-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, Ananya Barady (Pon) bt Charmi Patel (Guj) 12-10, 7-11,11-6, 6-11, 11-4, J. Isshani (Pon) bt Prutha Prabhu (Goa) 11-6, 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, Niveditha Balusuri (TTFI) bt Kausha Bhairapure (Guj) 11-3, 5-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, Vaishnavi Vijaykumar (TTFI) bt Karruna Gajendran (Kar) 11-6, 11-6, 6-11, 9-11, 11-8, Shrubabati Moitra (TTFI) bt Anushka Basak (Ben) 12-10, 14-12, 8-11, 7-11, 11-7, Kashyapi Dutta (Asm) Sastha Chandralekhaa (Pon) 9-11, 11-7, 14-12, 7-11, 12-10, Akanksha Deka (Asm) bt Tanzia Sharma (TTFI) 9-11, 11-9, 12-14, 11-8, 11-3, Aru Vaishnava (MP) bt Budda Shresta (AP) 5-11, 13-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4.