National TT C'ship: Sharath, Madhurika head seedings

Though Sharath Kamal and Madhurika Patkar have been seeded to win the singles titles in the National table tennis championship here this weekend, the form of the players this season projects unpredictable and fiercely-fought battles over the next two days.

Sharath Kamal is the top seed in mens section.   -  G.Ramakrishna

Though Sharath Kamal and Madhurika Patkar have been seeded to win the singles titles in the National table tennis championship here this weekend, the form of the players this season projects unpredictable and fiercely-fought battles over the next two days.

Sharath should be happy with the draw since his three major challengers – Soumyajit Ghosh, second seed G. Sathiyan and reigning champion A. Amalraj – are all in the bottom half of the draw.

As a result, Sharath is tipped to play country’s brightest prospect Manav Thakkar in the quarterfinals and the winner of the match between Harmeet Desai and left-handed Sanil Shetty in the semifinals.

It may be recalled that Desai, known to be very unpredictable, upstaged Sharath at the National championship at Patna a few years ago and Shetty knocked out the favourite in the quarterfinals of this season’s Inter-institutional championship at Jaipur. In the only other ranking event that six-time National champion chose to play this season, Sharath emerged triumphant in the South Zone event at Vizag.

“I am in good shape and looking to make a point this week,” said Sharath who last won the title in Kolkata in January 2011. Since then, Sharath lost in successive title-matches to Amalraj (Lucknow) and Ghosh (Raipur). In the following edition in Patna, he lost in the semifinals to Desai. He missed the championship in Puducherry and lost to Sathiyan in the semifinal last year at Hyderabad.

Going by the performances in the six ranking competitions this season, G. Sathiyan topped the list. He won two titles, finished runner-up once and reached two semifinals. This week, Sathiyan faces a tough draw. Should he get past the left-handed seventh seed Jubin Kumar in the quarterfinals, he is drawn to play either Ghosh or Amalraj.

Among the ladies, top seed Madhurika Patkar could find it tough. Having won the North Zone and East Zone titles – the first and last events of the season leading to this championship – and finishing runner-up in Central Zone, Madhurika will be the favourite against former champion Ankita Das in their projected quarterfinal clash. Thereafter, she runs into the winner of Manika Batra-Mousumi Paul match.

From the bottom half of the draw, second seed Sutirtha Mukherjee has seventh seed Reeth Rishya as a potential quarterfinal rival. A victory should see her take on seasoned Mouma Das or Pooja Sahasrabudhe to make the last-four stage.

Singles seedings (from Petroleum, unless stated):

Men: 1. A. Sharath Kamal, 2. G. Sathiyan, 3. A. Amalraj, 4. Sanil Shetty, 5. Harmeet Desai, 6. Soumyajit Ghosh (Har), 7. Jubin Kumar (Har), 8. Manav Thakkar.

Women: 1. Madhurika Patkar, 2. Sutirtha Mukherjee (WB), 3. Mouma Das, 4. Mousumi Paul, 5. Manika Batra, 6. Pooja Sahasrabudhe (Mah ‘A’), 7. Reeth Rishya, 8. Ankita Das.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :