Harmeet and Manika get top billing in singles
TTFI Event News 19th-Aug-2023
Visakhapatnam, August 19: Harmeet Desai and Manika Batra got the top billing in the singles by being the top-ranked players in the world in the ongoing AAI-50th Inter-state National championships at the Swarna Bharathi Stadium today.
Sharath Kamal and Sreeja Akula follow them in their respective sections. Sathiyan and Manav Thakkar, who are behind Sharath, should come at No. 3 and 4, as they were among the top 100 in world rankings when the entries closed last week.
Based on the national rankings of players, 12 other seeding positions will be filled through a draw of lots during the open second-stage draw after the qualification matches. Similarly, Ayhika Mukherjee and Diya Chitale, leading the national ranking chart, will follow Sreeja, while the 5th to 8th seeds will be through a draw of lots.
The 74 qualifiers, one from each group, will join the 16 seeded players in the 128-main draw, with byes offered to 38 players. As for the women's singles, 48 qualifiers will join the eight-seeded players in the knockout stage. Eight-seeded players will receive first-round byes.
The fight for qualification
The fight in men's singles qualification rounds had a few intense match-ups, as former national champion Soumyajit Ghosh found to his chagrin. The Haryana paddler was at the receiving end in his first-round match, losing to Sujal Banik 9-11, 8-11, 11-6, 6-11, putting his qualification in doubt. The Bengal paddler took control of the match and led 2-0 before dropping the third game. But it did not make any difference to the outcome and, more or less, assuring himself a place in the second stage.
Even Arjun Ghosh of the Railways struggled in Group 20 before overcoming Surya Teja of Andhra Pradesh 3-2. Arjun, expected to qualify, was astonishing off-colour and dropped two games to Teja before closing out 6-11, 11-3, 5-11, 11-6, 11-8. Sarthak Seth of IA and AD quickly went 2-0 up but lost the next two to Suranjit Dey of Meghyala. But the inexperience of Dey saved the day for Sarthak as he pulled through with 11-3, 11-5, 11-13, 10-12, 11-5 win.
Kesavan Kannan, a steady player from Telangana, lost to Abhinav Belwal of Chandigarh 10-12, 7-11, 11-9, 10-12 and Parth Virmani of CRSB went 0-3 (7-11, 5-11, 4-11 to Subhash Mani of IA & AD in Group 35. But for these mismatches, other group leaders kept their slate clean to inch ahead in their quest to reach the knockout stage.
Except for a few walkovers in women's singles qualifiers, the ranked players in top groups went through the motions to notch up their first-round wins and don't see any threat to their progress.
All the seeded players in both sections will enter the fray after first-round byes tomorrow.