National table tennis championship: Manika, Archana scrape through

Madhurika Patkar finds her touch in time; Shamini fails to advance.

Manika Batra survived three game-points in the first set, a five-point deficit in the second and a dropped fourth set to stop Andhra’s Kajol Ramjali.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Manika Batra and Archana Kamath, along with upcoming talent Diya Chitale, represent the present and future of Indian women’s table tennis.

Now that the competitions are back after 11 months, their performances this week will reflect their hard work done during the COVID-break.

Contrasting styles

On Tuesday, the trio won their opening round matches in the National table tennis championship at Panchkula near here, in contrasting styles.

If former champion Manika and Archana looked rusty for the better part of campaign-openers, the reigning National youth and junior champion Diya gave nothing away to Tamil Nadu girl N. Vidya.

Manika survived three game-points in the first set, a five-point deficit in the second and a dropped fourth set to stop Andhra’s Kajol Ramjali. Archana looked far from convincing during her 4-2 victory over Swastika Ghosh, a junior international with a bright future.

READ: Manika, Sutirtha face threat of former champions

Another ex-winner National champion K. Shamini could not find the high gear and made a first-round exit. Looking vulnerable throughout the league phase, Shamini could not match Telangana youngster Varuni Jaiswal’a firepower on this day.

Unlike Shamini, former champions Madhurika Patkar and Ankita Das found their lost touch in time to win in six games against Yashaswini Ghorpade and Snehal Patil.

Seeded 15, Reeth Rishya tossed away two match-points in the fifth game against a fighting Munmun Ghosh before getting her act right in the deciding seventh game for a 4-3 victory.

Leading results

First round: Manika Batra bt Kajol Ramjali 13-11, 11-9, 11-5, 7-11, 11-3; Priyadarshini Das bt C.R. Harsha Vardhini 11-3, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6; Archana Kamath bt Swastika Ghosh 13-15, 12-10, 11-9, 4-11, 13-11, 11-5; Diya Chitale bt N. Vidya 11-4, 11-6, 11-9, 11-4; Pooja Sahasrabudhe bt Suhana Saini 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 1-11, 11-6, 11-7; Madhurika Patkar bt Yashaswini Ghorpade 7-11. 11-4, 11-2, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7; Manasi Chiplunkar bt Anargya Manjunath 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 4-11, 14-12, 15-13; Krittwika Sinha Roy bt T. R.Shruthi 11-6, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8; Ankita Das bt Snehal Patil 8-11, 11-4, 11-3, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7; Varuni Jaiswal bt K. Shamini 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-6; S. Selenadeepthi bt Maria Rony 11-5, 11-8, 11-9, 14-12; Reeth Rishya bt Munmun Kundu 11-9, 12-10, 15-13, 9-11, 11-13, 6-11, 11-8; Nikhat Banu bt Trisha Gogoi 11-6, 11-5, 6-11, 11-8, 11-4; Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Khushi Jain 11-5, 11-3, 11-8, 11-7.

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