Soumyadeep struggles, Poulami dominates

UNDER pressure to perform and searching for his first title after a gap, twice National champion Soumyadeep Roy would have gone through many anxious moments before the start of the National ranking table tennis championship (East) at Kolkata.

S. SABANAYAKAN

Poulami Ghatak (left) and Soumyadeep Roy claimed the women's and men's singles titles respectively. — Pic. S. PATRONOBISH-

UNDER pressure to perform and searching for his first title after a gap, twice National champion Soumyadeep Roy would have gone through many anxious moments before the start of the National ranking table tennis championship (East) at Kolkata.

Having made it to his maiden final at the Southern leg, the Indian Oil Corporation officer was stopped in the summit clash by the latest sensation of Indian table tennis, A. Sharath Kamal, also of Indian Oil.

Low in confidence and facing Kamal in front of his home crowd, the fourth-seeded Roy came up with a superlative display to clinch the title in style. He raised his game a few notches and successfully retained the title he had won at Durgapur last year.

For the women's top seed Poulami Ghatak of Bharat Petroleum, it was far too easy against Railway Sports Promotion Board's Mamta Prabhu in the final. Poulami picked up her fourth title in five ranking meets, including the prestigious inter-institutional affair. The current season has indeed been very kind to this stocky lady.

Injuries laid low two of the potential champions in men's top seed S. Raman and women's second seed N. R. Indu. As luck would have it, Raman pulled a neck muscle and conceded his quarterfinal game against Arup Basak. This, of course, paved an easy way for Roy to advance to the final at the expense of Basak. The former National champion, having left his rewarding days well behind, was no match for Roy. Kamal, on the other hand, downed third-seeded Subhajit Saha with great difficulty in seven games. This clash had given a fair indication of Kamal's problems.

Indu, too, was prevented by an injury from giving off her best and lost to S. Sangeetha of Tamil Nadu in the pre-quarterfinals. Her early departure meant the bottom-half opened up from where Mamta cruised ahead with her consistent play. Yet, the Railway player, having lost to Poulami in the inter-institutional final in straight games, failed to extract sweat revenge despite Poulami not playing at her best in the final.

Soumyajit Sarker and Anusree Saha (above, right), both from CoE, won the boys' and girls' titles. — Pics. S. PATRONOBISH-

The Centre of Excellence (CoE) of the TTFI, floated with the support of the Sports Authority of India, Netaji Subhas Eastern Centre, at Kolkata, became the latest sanctuary for all the top-notch Bengal players of repute following a clash between the State association and the National body on flimsy grounds.

The CoE's Soumyajit Sarkar took the boys' crown subduing his teammate Subhadeep Das 4-3. The girls' title went to Anushree Saha, trained by former State player, Sadhan Dutta, but entered through CoE. She outlasted Sayantika Kundu of Bengal 4-2.

Sushovan Das of CoE and Neha Agarwal of Delhi won the sub-junior titles. Neha was the only player from outside Bengal to win a title in this meet.

For Sharath Kamal everything went wrong after taking the first game. He lacked focus, his play was erratic, and he played poorly at crucial points. Roy, peeking at the right time, pinned Kamal to the backhand corner and came up with fluent winners on unguarded flank. There has been a marked improvement in his serves, which added the edge to his game.

Soumyajit Sarker and Anusree Saha (above, right), both from CoE, won the boys' and girls' titles. — Pics. S. PATRONOBISH-

Poulami literally dictated terms against Mamta. It looked like the Railway player was yet to get over the Hyderabad defeat at the hands of Poulami. She was a bundle of nerves in the final and failed to get some easy shots on the table leaving the top-seed a runaway winner.

The results (prefix denotes seeding):

Men's singles final: 4-Soumyadeep Roy (PSPB) bt 2-A. Sharath Kamal (PSPB) 6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7.

Semifinals: Roy bt 9-Arup Basak (PSPB) 11-6, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6; Kamal bt 3-Subhajit Saha (PSPB) 2-11, 11-6, 11-8, 12-10, 5-11, 8-11, 12-10.

Sushovan Das (CoE) defeated Bengal's Souvik Kar for the sub-junior boys' title. — Pic. S. PATRONOBISH-

Quarterfinals: Basak w/o 1-S. Raman (PSPB); Roy bt 5-Subham Chowdhury (RSPB) 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 11-4, 5-11, 11-7; Saha bt 7-Ranabir Das (RSPB) 11-7, 4-11, 6-11, 11-1, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4; Kamal bt 6-Anirban Nandy (RSPB) 11-7, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7.

Women's final: 1-Poulami Ghatak (PSPB) bt 6-Mamta Prabhu (RSPB) 11-6, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6.

Semifinals: Poulami bt 5-Anindita Chakraborty (RSPB) 11-3, 12-10, 11-5, 11-9; Mamta bt 10-Nandita Saha (PSPB) 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7.

Quarterfinals: Poulami bt 8-Vishakha Vijay (RSPB) 18-16, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8; Anindita bt 4-Mouma Das (PSPB) 13-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9, 11-4; Mamta bt 3-Mantu Ghosh (PSPB) 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8; Nandita bt S. Sangeetha (TN) 11-3, 11-7, 11-4, 11-7.

Boys' final: Soumyajit Sarkar (CoE) bt Subhadeep Das (CoE) 11-7, 6-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-8.

Semifinals: Das bt 1-Aniket Koparkar (Mah) 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8; Sarkar bt Zubir Kumar (PSPB A) 11-0, 11-13, 11-6, 12-10, 10-12, 13-11.

Quarterfinals: Koparkar bt Amarnath Das (CoE) 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5; Das bt 4-Devesh Karia (PSPB A) 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-4; Sarkar bt Sanil Shetty (Mah) 11-5, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8; Kumar bt 2-R. Avishek (TN) 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-2, 11-8.

Girls' final: Anushree Saha (CoE) bt Sayantika Kundu (Ben) 12-10, 7-11, 13-15, 11-4, 11-7, 11-4.

Semifinals: Anushree bt 1-S. Sangeetha (TN) 11-13, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6; Sayantika bt Neha Agarwal (Del) 13-11, 4-11, 8-11,11-4,11-7,11-4.

Quarterfinals: Sangeetha bt Sukanya Bose (Sli) 12-10, 9-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-3, 11-8; Anushree bt Runa Roy (Ben) 11-5, 11-4,11-7,11-3; Sayantika bt K. Samini (TN) 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 4-11, 13-11, 8-11, 11-5; Neha bt 2-Pallavi Kundu (CoE) 11-4, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8.

Sub-junior boys' final: Sushovan Das (CoE) bt Souvik Kar (Ben) 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7.

Semifinals: Souvik bt Pritam Bose (Ben) 12-10, 11-5, 11-7, 11-13, 3-11, 11-9; Sushovan bt Santasabuj Chakraborty (Ben) 15-13, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9,11-8.

Quarterfinals: Souvik bt C. P. Kartik (Kar) 8-11, 11-4, 9-11, 12-10, 0-11, 11-7, 11-9; Pritam bt 4-Aman Balgu (PSPB A) 13-11, 5-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-5; Sushovan bt Arkabrata Kundu (CoE) 6-11, 12-10, 12-10, 12-14, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9; Santasabuj bt Amir Dutta Chowdhury (CoE) 11-13, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8.

Sub-junior girls' final: Neha Agarwal (Del) bt Joyeeta Pushilal (Ben) 11-7, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9.

Semifinals: Joyeeta bt Shreya Ghosh (CoE) 16-14, 8-11, 11-7,11-8, 10-12, 8-11, 11-3; Neha bt Agamani Mitra (Ben) 11-4, 11-9, 11-7, 14-12.

Quarterfinals: Shreya bt 1-Divya Deshpande (Mah) 11-8, 11-7, 13-11, 8-11, 12-10; Joyeeta bt 4-Priti Mokashi (Mah) 11-4, 6-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6; Agamani bt D. V. Sneha (TN) 11-4, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7; Neha bt Triparna Biswas (Sli) 11-4, 13-11, 11-7, 11-8.