Howrah, October 25: PSPB’s Manav Thakkar defeated teammate Harmeet Desai 4-1 to lift the men singles trophy—his first this season—even as West Bengal’s Krittwika Sinha Roy upset top-seed Sutirtha Mukherjee of Haryana 4-1 for her maiden women singles crown to bring the curtain down on the UTT National Ranking (East Zone) Table Tennis Championships which concluded at the Howrah Indoor Stadium here today.
Manav, after the first extended game, gained a 2-0 lead before dropping the next to Harmeet. That was when he really looked good for a comeback as went into a quick 6-0 lead before conceding the first point to Manav. But then Harmeet made a few mistakes and helped Manav to the extent to getting closer at 5-6. The timeout he took helped Harmeet reach 9-7 and 10-9. However, on the game point, during one of the fast excellent rallies, allowed Manav to deuce and from there the Surat boy went 3-1 up.
In the decider, the drooping shoulders of Harmeet told the real tale as Manav went from strength to strength to stop Harmeet, the South Zone winner, well short to take home Rs. 77,000 in cash and the winner’s trophy.
Earlier Krittwika, who finished runner-up in the Nationals conducted at Cuttack last January, missed the silverware narrowly after entering the final. But here, on the concluding day, she played brilliantly to grab the opportunity with both hands to claim the maiden women singles crown.
However, the top-seed Sutirtha was shaky to begin with and lost the first two games. Though she did manage to take the next, it was Krittwika who consolidated her position from the fourth to wrap it up by the fifth for an emphatic triumph. The title was worth Rs. 66,000, her career’s biggest prize purse.
In his attempt to return to the mainstream for the first time, Soumyajit Ghosh showed glimpses of his old self lost and played with a lot of verve throughout, including in the semi-final. The Haryana paddler, tired as he was when the match reached the decider, was tired and despite his experience and might, could not succeed against the younger legs of Manav Thakkar.
Ghosh was leading 1-3 and made a great effort in the fifth and sixth to take the issue to the decider. But in the crucial game, Manav ran up a good lead and sustained it with some excellent shots which mounted pressure on his opponent. So much so, midway through Ghosh had given up and Manav just pushed him to the corner.
Manav’s opponent in the final, Harmeet Desai, too, was staring at defeat against Sushmit Srirram when the former trailed 2-3. But Harmeet, in his best form, covered deficit with authority and in the decider and continued in the same fashion to go past the Tamil Nadu paddler convincingly.
In women’s semi-finals, Haryana’s Sutirtha Mukehrjee played true to her top-seed position and defeated fifth-seed Ayhika Mukherjee 4-1 rather easily, but what was remarkable was Krittwika Sinha Roy’s march into the final. The West Bengal qualifier, who ousted second-seed Archana Kamath, downed state-mate Prapti Sen systematically despite the little girl’s never-say-attitude who narrowed down the margin to be 3-2. But in the sixth, Krittwika played really well to upset her rival’s rhythm to romp home winners.
In the last outing on Thursday, PSPB pair of Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath combined well to win the mixed doubles title, beating their West Bengal rival Akash Pal and Poymantee Baisya 3-1. The West Bengal duo opened well to take the lead, but the experience and guile of the PSPB players could not be matched and they wilted under pressure to be satisfied with the silver medal.
Men Singles: Final: Manav Thakkar (PSPB) bt Harmeet Desai (PSPB) 12-10, 11-4, 9-11, 12-10, 11-7; Semi-finals: Manav Thakkar bt Soumyajit Ghosh (Har) 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 7-11, 11-4; Harmeet Desai bt Sushmit Sriram (TN) 5-11, 9-11, 11-2, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5.
Women Singles: Final: Krittwika Sinha Roy (WB) bt Sutirtha Mukherkee (Har) 11-7, 11-5, 5-11, 11-6, 11-8; Semi-finals: Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Ayhika Mukherjee (RBI) 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-3; Krittiwika Sinha Roy bt Prapti Sen (WB) 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 14-12, 11-13, 11-8.
Mixed Doubles: Final: Manav Thakkar/Archana Kamath (PSPB) bt Akash Pal/Poymantee Baishya (WB) 6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 12-10.
Table Tennis Federation of India