National Table Tennis C'ship: Puducherry enters into last 16

Puducherry’s previous appearance in the pre-quarterfinal also came at the same venue in December 2003. As a result, after just over 13 years, the Union Territory made its presence felt at this level.

The Puducherry team that made state history by reaching the round of 16 after 13 years.   -  Special Arrangement

Even as the bigger teams went about its primary goal of reaching the team championship pre-quarterfinal of the National table tennis championship, Puducherry men ended a jinx by turning the clock and making the grade here on Tuesday.

By sheer coincidence, Puducherry’s previous appearance in the pre-quarterfinal also came at the same venue in December 2003. As a result, after just over 13 years, the Union Territory made its presence felt at this level.

The team comprising V. Sudarsanane, R. Vijaykrishnan and S. Ayyappan surprised Andhra Pradesh 3-2 and Himachal Pradesh 3-1 in the league to finish second behind Petroleum.

Vijayakrishnan won both his singles against Andhra to offset the two defeats suffered by top-ranked Sudarsanane. Ayyapan won the third singles to keep the team 2-1 ahead. Eventually, Vijayakrishnan’s 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 5-11, 11-7 victory over A. Gowtham settled the issue.

Against Himachal, Sudarsanane struck form and won two singles. Vijayakrishnan’s defeat did not hurt Puducherry as Ayyappan once again pulled off the third singles.

With the exception of Puducherry, most fancied teams made the round of 16, with Petroleum leading the way in both sections.

The men from Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra ‘A’, Rajasthan, Airport Authority of India, Tamil Nadu, North Bengal, West Bengal and Delhi also booked their places in the pre-quarterfinal.

Among the ladies, Petroleum, West Bengal, AAI, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, North Bengal, Maharashtra ‘A’ and Karnataka were among those qualified for the round of 16.

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