Having lost to Raegan Albuquerque of Maharashtra twice in the junior boys’ final earlier, Manush Shah was determined not to lose to his rival and good friend for the third time.
The 17-year-old from Gujarat played a tactically sound mid-game to outwit Raegan in a evenly-fought seven games at 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-7 and pocket his second title of the season in four finals in the 11Sports-West Zone National-ranking table tennis tournament here on Wednesday. Manush claimed a ‘double’ crown, having won the youth boys’ title the other day.
Similarly, West Bengal’s Prapti Sen, the top seed and Anusha Kutumbale (Madhya Pradesh), the second seed, have met two times earlier in the junior girls’ finals, and have shared the honours. Prapti improved her head-to-record record, by playing a consistently attacking game to script a 14-12, 11-3, 9-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-3 victory over Anusha.
Manush was thrilled that he had won a double crown for the first time. “I am very happy to have won two titles in one tournament for the first time in my life. I have improved my physical fitness and that was the key today,” he said.
For Prapti, the key was to engage in rallies and attack at the same time against whom she thought was a sticky opponent. “She has a different style of game. She hits the same shots in a different manner. For example, her backhand drive comes as a ‘cut’ [sometimes]. So, I had to be dominating and I am happy I was able to do so,” she said.
On Thursday, the sub-junior and cadet boys' and girls' categories will be held.
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