Dharwad, August 27: Reigning national champion Soumyajit Ghosh added yet another feather to his cap when he beat Anthony Amalraj 4-1 to retain the men’s singles title, while it was a double delight for K. Shamini, the women’s national champion, at the LIC-sponsored Institutional Table Tennis Championshipsat the District Indoor Hall here on the concluding day on Tuesday. The winners carried home Rs. 75,000 and Rs. 58,000, respectively.
Shamini won the women’s singles crown 4-0 in a one-sided final against Poulomi Ghatak. Before that she had claimed the women’s doubles title, combining with Madhurika Patkar.
Both men and women singles finals saw the PSPB team mates competing with each other, but it was Bharat Petroleum’s Ghosh who won the honours. After a brilliant start, Ghosh lagged behind in the second against Amalraj and eventually lost the game. But Ghosh, who can never be counted out, retained his flavor to win the third game, despite being 4-7 down. Amalraj, showing occasional brilliance, was definitely struggling against an expressive Ghosh who kept indulging his opponent. In the decider, Ghosh just allowed Amalraj six points to wrap it up quickly.
“I had a nice rhythm going and I cashed in on it. After winning the third game, I grew in confidence,” said the champion. Amalraj, on the other hand, admitted to have committed several errors, forced and unforced, at crucial junctures. “I was not in my groove today. I tried to control the game, but Ghosh was too good,” he said.
As for the Shamini-Poulomi final, the national champion did not have to sweat it out at all. On the day, Shamini went great guns demolishing whatever little challenge that came from Poulomi, who was playing from her memories. “I played really good. I kept attacking and it paid dividends,” said Shamini.
But the real feeling of watching a grand final in the men’s section came when Anthony Amalraj had to endure a tough Nitin Thiruvengadam of Airports Authority of India in the second semifinals. The match was within Nitin’s grasp as he had a comfortable lead of 3-1. In fact, he should have clinched it in sixth game, but missed a match point at 10-9, then at 11-10, when Amalraj saved one before levelling the set score 11-11. The fighting Amalraj smelt his chance and took the next two points to remain the match. And in the decider, he led 7-4 before conceding three points to Nitin. But that was all the latter could manage as Amalraj, in one of the finest comebacks, won the last three games to seal his place in the final.
In the first semifinal, Soumyajit Ghosh had to put up some resistance against Harmeet Desai. Though Ghosh won 4-1, the score line does not suggest his struggle or the way Desai forced his opponent into playing false strokes in the match. Except for the sixth game, which Ghosh won with relative ease, every other game saw the top-seed straining every sinew to sail into the final.
The Shamini-Pooja semifinal was a mismatch of sorts with Shamini running over her opponent in double quick time. Shamini was not only stroking well but also controlled the match in a manner that champions are made of. Pooja, who showed great character against Ankita Das during the quarterfinals, somehow failed to bring to the table the variety she possesses. That, in a nut shell, was also her undoing on an important day.
In contrast, No. 2 seed Poulomi Ghatak was struggling a bit against the attacking Madhurika. But with experience on her side and her husband Soumyadeep Roy on the bench imparting advice, Poulomi prevailed over the Mumbai girl. When she made it 1-1, things could have gone either way in the third. However, some close misses at the net by Madhurika enabled Poulomi come back in a game that went to 12 points. Yet the Mumbai girl managed to reduce the margin by taking the fifth game for a 2-3 score. In the six, Poulomi never allowed any liberty and shut her rival out very quickly.
PSPB sweep doubles crown
The men’s doubles title went Sourav Saha and G. Sathiyan while K. Shamini and Madhurika Patkar combined to blank out their PSPB counterparts Ankita Das and Reeth Rishya 3-0.
Men (Final): Soumyajit Ghosh bt Anthony Amalraj 4-1 (11-9, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6); Semifinals: Soumyajit Ghosh bt Harmeet Desai 4-1 (9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5, 11-6), Anthony Amalraj bt Nitin Thiruvengadam (AAI) 4-3 (7-11, 11-9, 15-17, 10-12, 11-7, 13-11, 11-7).
Doubles (Final): Sourav Saha/G. Sathiyan bt Jubin Kumar/ A. Amalraj 3-1 (8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 12-10).
Women (Final): K. Shamini bt Poulomi Ghatak 4-0 (11-7, 11-1, 11-8, 11-2); Semifinals: K. Shamini bt Pooja Sahasrabudhe 4-1 (11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7), Poulomi Ghatak bt Madhurika Patkar 4-2 (6-11, 11-3, 11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 11-4).
Doubles (Final): K. Shamini/Madhurika Patkar bt Ankita Das/Reeth Rishya 3-0 (11-9, 11-5, 11-5).
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