National TT C'ship: Madhurika, Sharath crowned champions

Sharath Kamal's six-year wait for a seventh singles title ended when he outclassed two-time winner Soumyajit Ghosh in six games. Madhurika Patkar, meanwhile, beat seven-time winner Poulomi Ghatak in straight games for her maiden title.

Sharath Kamal and Madhurika Patkar pose with their National table tennis championship trophies.   -  Rakesh Rao

Top-seeds Sharath Kamal and Madhurika Patkar were crowned National table tennis champions on Sunday at the Manesar Sports Club in Haryana.

Sharath's six-year wait for a seventh singles title ended when he outclassed two-time winner Soumyajit Ghosh in six games. Madhurika, meanwhile, beat seven-time winner Poulomi Ghatak in straight games for her maiden title.

The title was a reward for Sharath's perseverance. He overcame a 1-8 deficit in the third game to script a 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-8, 11-5 victory in the final.

He reached the final after staving off two match points against Harmeet Desai in the semifinals. In the deciding game, Sharath trailed 1-5 but eventually won the match 11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 10-12, 7-11, 14-12, 11-9.

"I think, the final was my best match of the week. I think, in the final, Ghosh lacked the energy with which he normally plays. He played doubles too and that took its toll," said a generous Sharath after the final.

"Against Harmeet, it was tough because he refused to give any negative points and that frustrated me. That was tough."

Madhurika, too, reaped a rich reward for her perseverance.

On the way to the title, Madhurika was tested in the first round, by Selvadeepthi in the second round and by Moumita Datta in the pre-quarterfinals. But Madhurika had saved her best for the last.

The moment Poulomi netted a return on match-point, an emotional Madhurika sank to her knees and shed tears of joy.

In a rare gesture, Madhurika soon walked to all three sides of the arena to thank her friends and supporters, accepting congratulatory handshakes all the way. Once outside the playing hall, Poulomi hugged her and said, "Don't cry. Enjoy the moment," before walking away. Of course, Poulomi an 11-time National finalist, knows all well what it means to win this title.

The results (prefix denotes seedings):

Men (final): 1-Sharath Kamal (Pet) bt Soumyajit Ghosh (Har) 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-8, 11-5; (semifinals): Sharath bt 5-Harmeet Desai (Pet) 11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 10-12, 7-11, 14-12, 11-9; Ghosh bt 2-G. Sathiyan (Pet) 12-10, 11-7, 11-6, 4-11, 11-4; (quarterfinals): Sharath bt Subhajit Saha (Pet) 11-6, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7; Desai bt 4-Sanil Shetty (Pet) 11-7, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6; Ghosh bt 3-A. Amalraj (Pet) 11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 11-3; Sathiyan bt Devesh Karia (Guj) 8-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-4, 11-4.

Women: (final): 1-Madhurika Patkar (Pet) bt Poulomi Ghatak (Pet) 11-5, 11-9, 11-5, 12-10; (semifinals): Madhurika bt 5-Manika Batra 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8; Poulomi bt 6-Pooja Sahasrabudhe 11-8, 11-5, 12-10, 11-8; (quarterfinals): Madhurika bt Krittwika Sinha Roy (WB) 11-5, 11-9, 11-9, 15-13; Manika bt Nikhat Banu (Tel) 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 10-12, 5-11, 11-8, 11-4; Pooja bt Shreya Ghosh (WB) 11-2, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9; Poulomi bt Archana Kamath 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 6-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-4.

Men doubles: (final): 1-Soumyajit Ghosh and Jubin Kumar (Har) bt Sushmit Sriram and Anirban Ghosh (AAI) 11-3, 7-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5; (semifinals): Ghosh and Jubin bt 4-Arjun Ghosh and Surajit Das (WB) 11-9, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8; Sushmit and Anirban bt 7-Sourav Saha and Mohit Verma (Har) 10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7.

Women doubles: (final): 1-Anindita Chakraborty and Sutritha Mukherjee (WB) bt 2-Poulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das (Pet) 11-8, 11-8, 4-11, 7-11, 11-3; (semifinals): Anindita and Sutirtha bt Maria Roy and Seraha Jacob (Ker) 12-10, 11-7, 11-7; Poulomi and Mouma bt 7-Sagarika Mukherjee and Takeme Sarkar (NB) 11-9, 11-8, 11-7.

Mixed doubles: (final): 2-Arjun Ghosh and Sutritha Mukherjee (WB) bt 4-Sanil Shetty and Pooja Sahasrabudhe (Pet) 11-9, 11-5, 11-9; (semifinals): Shetty and Pooja bt 1-G. Sathiyan bt Reeth Rishya (Pet) 11-7, 13-15, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9. Arjun and Sutirtha bt T. Nitin and Swetha Kumaravel (Kar) 12-10, 11-13, 13-11, 11-8.

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