There isn’t a whiff of a doubt that the women’s team of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the top seed, is the favourite despite PSPB being the defending champion. RBI proved it in ample measure with an imposing 3-0 victory over Kerala in the pre-quarterfinals of the Senior National inter-state table tennis championships in Jammu on Tuesday.
RBI will take on Haryana in the last-eight clash. In fact, none of the seeded teams in men and women had any problems as they cruised into the quarterfinals.
For RBI, Ayhika Mukherjee, Sreeja Akula, and Diya Chitale demolished their opponents. First, Ayhika routed an up-and-coming Seraha Jabcob 11-3, 11-5, 11-4 before the reigning National champion Sreeja Akula overcame Pranati P Nair 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7. Diya Chitale cleaned up Renuka Aswani 11-6, 11-6, 11-3.
Tamil Nadu defeated Telangana 3-0 to reach the women’s quarterfinals and set up a meeting with West Bengal. After being 2-0 up with V. Kowshika and S. Yashini winning their matches, N. Deepika gave her team quite a few jitters before beating Harshita Thonda Lakshmi 13-11, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 12-10 in the third rubber.
The awarding of the top seed status to RBI raised a few eyebrows at least initially. Table Tennis Federation of India, however, stated that since it couldn’t hold the All-Institutional championships after 2019 due to COVID-19, it has decided to come up with a fresh set of guidelines wherein the domestic rankings of the best of the three players will be taken into consideration to decide the seedings of the team.
The results (pre-quarterfinals):
Men: PSPB bt Uttarakhand 3-0; West Bengal bt Karnataka 3-1; Uttar Pradesh bt Gujarat 3-0; Delhi bt Punjab 3-0; Haryana bt TTFI 3-0; Telangana bt Manipur 3-0; Maharashtra bt Madhya Pradesh 3-0; RSPB bt Assam 3-0.
Women: RBI bt Kerala 3-0; Haryana bt Chandigarh 3-0; Delhi bt Karnataka 3-1; Maharashtra bt Assam 3-1; West Bengal bt Gujarat 3-0; Tamil Nadu bt Telangana 3-0; Madhya Pradesh bt TTFI 1 3-1; PSPB bt Andhra Pradesh 3-0.
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