Former national champion and third seed Sanil Shetty survived a scare even as top men’s singles stars including top seed G Sathiyan and second seed Sharath Kamal registered comfortable victories to advance to the third round of the table tennis competition in the 36th National Games.
The individual competition at the PDDU Indoor Stadium took off with local mixed doubles pair of Manav Thakkar and Filzah Fatema Kadri upsetting top seeds Sanil Shetty and Reethrishya Tennison of Maharashtra to reach the quarter-finals.
In fact, five of the eight seeds in the mixed doubles draw could not make it to the quarter final stage.
Shetty could have suffered a similar fate in the men’s singles competition as he was pushed to the brink by Uttar Pradesh’s Divyansh Srivastava. The left-hander from Maharashtra clearly struggled for rhythm but kept his nerves at 9-9 to clinch two quick points in the decider to win 11-5, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9.
In other matches, Sathiyan packed off Wesley Do Roserio of Haryana 13-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 while Sharath converted his fifth match point to beat Maharashtra’s Ravindra Kotiyan 11-9, 11-6, 11-6, 17-15.
Local hopes Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar also began their campaigns with facile victories in the second round. All the seeds enjoyed a bye in the opening round.
Thakkar wasted four match points in the fourth set but regrouped to beat Uttar Pradesh’s Sarth Mishra 11-5, 11-6, 11-6, 14-16, 11-6 while Desai hammered Telangana’s Mohammed Ali 11-4, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8.
But the performance of the day definitely came from Thakkar and Kadri, who teamed up for the first time at any level.
Though both players learnt the basics of the game at the Sufaiz Academy, they had never got a chance to play together in the past and even the decision to pair them together was taken at the preparatory camp held ahead of the Games.
The unseeded pair began their campaign with an easy win over Uttar Pradesh’s Sridhar Joshi and Mahika Dixit but their real test was going to be against the husband-wife combination of Shetty and Reeth.
Rising to the occasion, Kadri played a solid second foil to Thakkar as she not only did her job of keeping the ball in play effectively but also found opportunities to score winners as the pair registered a 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 victory.
“It’s a great feeling to beat a team which is in the top 6 in the national ranking. We are hoping to play with the same energy tomorrow and win a medal,” said Kadri after the match.
Thakkar was all praise for his partner. “She is very aggressive, she is an attacker. We have practiced a lot during training so we understand each other’s moves very well,” he said.
In women’s singles, Prapti Sen was the only seeded player to be knocked out in the second round.
The West Bengal sixth seed fought hard after going down by two sets against Haryana’s Suhana Saini but failed to convert her 8-5 lead in the sixth and went down 13-15, 11-7, 13-11, 11-6, 8-11, 14-12.
Saini will now face Karnataka’s Yashaswini Ghorpade of Karnataka in the next round.
Among the other seeds, favourite Manika Batra thrashed Telanga’s G Pranitha 11-5, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 while national champion and second seed Sreeja Akula packed off Maharashtra’s Anannya Basak 13-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-8.
Important Results (Round 32):
Men’s Singles: G. Sathiyan (TN) bt Wesely Do Rossaraio (Har) 13-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5; Manav Thakkar (Guj) Sarth Mishra (UP) 11-5, 11-6, 11-6, 12-14, 11-6; Anirban Ghosh (WB) bt Ishaan Hingorani (Guj) 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-3; Harmeet Desai (Guj) bt Mohammed Ali (Telg) 11-4, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8; Sanil Shetty (Mah) bt Divyansh Srivastava (UP) 11-6, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9; Manush Sha (Guj) bt K.J. Akash (Kar) 11-5, 11-8, 11-2, 11-4; Sharath Kamal (TN) bt Ravindra Kotiyan (Mah) 11-9, 11-6, 11-6, 17-15.
Mixed Doubles (PQF): Manav Thakkar/Filzahfatema Kadri (Guj) bt Sanil Shetty/Reeth Rishya (Mah) 11-7, 11-8, 11-7; Anirban Ghosh/Mouma Das (WB) bt Mohammed Ali/Varuni Jaiswal (Telg) 11-13, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4; Abhishek Yadav/Suhana Narjinary (UP) bt Aman Balgu/Nikhat Banu (Telg) 12-10, 11-7, 11-5; Manush Shah/Krittwika Sinha Roy (Guj) bt Jubin Kumar/Riti Shankar (Har) 11-1, 11-4, 11-7; Ronit Bhanja/Koushani Nath (WB) bt Deepit R Patil/Diya Chitale (Mah) 12-10, 11-5, 11-9; Akash Pal/Prapti Sen (WB) bt Harmeet Desai/Frenaz Chipia (Guj) 12-10, 11-8, 11-5; Ravi Kotiyan/Shruti Amrute (Mah) bt Jeet Chandra/Sutirtha Mukherjee (WB) 11-6, 5-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9; SFR Snehit/Sreeja Akula (Telg) bt Ishaan Mahesh Hingorani/Kausha Bhairapure (Guj) 11-5, 11-2, 11-2.
Women’s Doubles (PQF): Diya Chitale/Swastika Ghosh (Mah) bt Radhapriya Goel/Suhana Narjinary (UP) 11-5, 11-8, 11-4; Krittwika Sinha Roy/Frenaz Chipia (Guj) bt Lakshita Narang/Tamanna Saini (Del) 11-0, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8; Ayhika Mukherjee/Sutirtha Mukherjee (WB) bt Mariya Rony/A Samyuktha (Kar) 11-9, 11-5, 11-6; N. Deepika/V. Kowshika (TN) bt Sreeja Akula/Nikhat Banu (Telg) 11-7, 6-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9; Shruti Amrute/Reeth Rishya (Mah) bt Suhana Saini/Riti Shankar (Har) 11-7, 11-3, 11-6; S. Yashini/CR Harshavardhini (TN) bt Filzahfatema Kadri (Guj) 11-9, 11-5, 12-10; Yashashwini Gorphade/Kushi Viswanath (Kar) bt G Prannithi/Varuni Jaswal (Telg) 12-10, 11-5, 11-6; Takeme Sarkar/Prapti Sen (WB) bt Anannya Basak/Vidhi Shah (Mah) 11-6, 11-7, 11-7.
Women’s singles: Manika Batra (Del) bt G Pranitha (Tel) 11-5, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8; Takeme Sarkar (WB) bt Nikhat Banu (Tel) 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9, 14-12; Anusha Kutumbale (MP) bt Riti Shankar (Har) 11-5, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9; Reethrishya Tennison (Mah) bt C R Harshavardhini (TN) 13-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-2; Diya Chitale (Mah) bt Trisha Paul (Har) 11-3, 11-6, 11-4, 12-10; Suhana Saini (Har) bt Prapti Sen (WB) 13-15, 11-7, 13-11, 11-6, 8-11, 14-12; Swastika Ghosh (Mah) bt V Kowshika (TN) 11-8, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6; Sreeja Akula (Tel) bt Anannya Basak (Mah) 13-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-8