Abhinand, Jennifer lift Youth U-15 trophies
TTFI Event News 27th-Oct-2021
Mohali, October 27: Tamil Nadu’s P.B. Abhinand and Maharashtra’s Jennifer Varghese took a similar route to in the Youth Under-15 Boys and Girls finals of the UTT National Ranking North Zone Table Tennis Championships at the Sports Complex at Sector 78 here today.
Jennifer defeated Sandika Bhattacharjee of West Bengal 4-2 and Abhinand followed suit with an identical scoreline to beat statemate Balamurugan Muthu.
Abhinand opened well to falter, allowing Balamurugan a comfortable recovery. But he could not sustain against the consistent onslaught from Abhinand and, despite his brave efforts, ended as the runner-up. What changed the fortune in Abhinand’s favour was his laboured wins in the fifth and sixth games on extended points.
Jennifer, the Cadet Nationals champion in 2019, made a bright opening against second seed Sandika Bhattacharjee. However, the West Bengal girl staged a nice comeback to lead 2-1. Undeterred, the lanky Maharashtra girl fought well to thwart the initial threat from her opponent, taking the next three games. But it was not before winning the fourth game on extended points.
In fact, the fourth game gave Jennifer confidence and brought some sanity to the haphazard game plan she dished out in the previous two games. By the time the fifth game began, the match was going only one way.
P.B. Abhinand knocked the stuffing out of fourth-seed Kushal Chopda to enter the final. The Maharashtra boy resisted and even stretched his opponent in three games. However, the Tamil Nadu boy emerged as a clear winner. Balamurugan, on the other hand, took a 2-0 lead only to drop the next game against statemate Nikkhil Menon. But the latter could not stop Balamurugan from running away with the match.
Earlier, Abhinand survived a scare as West Bengal’s Oishik Ghosh, the eighth seed, stretched him the maximum. Abhinand came back strongly after trailing 0-2 to lead 3-2. But the Bengal boy levelled the score to take the issue to the decider. In the decider, the Tamil Nadu paddler managed to scrape through, winning by minimal points.
Fourth seed Kushal Chopda, the only other top eight players to endure, also entered the semi-finals beating Abhinav Murthy of Karnataka 4-1. Two unseeded players from Tamil Nadu—Balamurugan Muthu and Nikkhil Menon—also made the semi-final cut.
In the Girls section, the top-seed bowed out when fourth-seed Jennifer Varghese outplayed to win 4-1. The Tamil Nadu girl was visibly hampered and could not come to terms with Jennifer’s attacking approach. Hansini did take a game off her rival, but it was too little and too late.
Second seed Sandika Bhattacharjee showed character to take the last two games on her way to the final after trailing 3-2. Sayani Panda, representing the National Centre of Excellence, was excellent and had a distinct advantage. But Sandika, infusing intensity in the sixth game, won with ease. The decider became a mere formality for her.
The West Bengal girl also struggled to beat Avisha Karmakar before 4-3 in a tough quarterfinal battle. Avisha, also from West Bengal, led 3-2 but squandered the advantage, allowing Sayani to nail her in the last two games. Jennifer dropped successive games to put herself in some danger. Jennifer, leading 3-0, became somewhat complacent and West Bengal’s Nandini Saha made most of the chances to give her a scare. In the end, however, the Maharashtra girl won the sixth game giving away a solitary point.
Hansini blanked out Riddhima Kapoor of Delhi, and Sandika defeated Shubha Bhat of Maharashtra 4-1.
Youth Under-15 Boys: Final: P.B. Abhinand (TTTA) bt Balamurugan Muthu (TNTTA) 15-13, 9-11, 5-11, 11-5, 13-11, 14-12.
Semi-finals: PB Abhinand bt Kushal Chopda (Mah) 12-10, 11-9, 12-10, 13-11; Balamurugan Muthu bt Nikkhil Menon (TNTTA) 11-9, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9.
Quarterfinals: PB Abhinand bt Oishik Ghosh (Ben) 6-11, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9; Kushal Chopda bt Abhinav Murthy (Kar) 11-7, 13-11, 11-6, 17-15; Balamurugan Muthu bt Umesh Kumar (TTTA) 11-3, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8; Nikkhil Menon bt Kshetrimayun Singh (Man) 14-16, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8.
Youth Under-15 Girls: Final: Jennifer Varghese (Mah) bt Sandika Bhattacharjee (Ben) 11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-6.
Semi-finals: Jennifer Varghese bt M.Hansini (TNTTA) 11-5, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7; Sandhika Bhattacharjee bt Sayani Panda (NCOE) 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 12-14, 11-6, 11-7.
Quarterfinals: M. Hansini bt Riddhima Kapoor (Del) 11-3, 11-8, 11-2, 11-4; Jennifer Varghese bt Nandini Saha (Ben) 11-5, 11-7, 12-10, 10-12, 9-11, 11-1; Sayani Panda bt Avisha Karmakar (Ben) 11-6, 6-11, 6-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5; Sandika Bhattacharjee bt Shubha Bhat (Mah) 11-6, 6-11, 14-12, 13-11, 11-6.