National TT: Tamil Nadu stun Maharashtra ‘A’

Reeth Rishya was Tamil Nadu's lynchpin. Despite pulling a muscle in her left leg, she fought courageously to defeat her higher-ranked opponent Divya Deshpande in the opening rubber. She then annihilated Madhurika Patkar in the final rubber to seal the victory for Tamil Nadu.

Reeth Rishya in action during the women's team event at the National table tennis championships. She was the architect of Tamil Nadu's victory against Maharashtra 'A' in the quarterfinals.   -  G. RAMAKRISHNA

Eighth-ranked Tamil Nadu shocked third-seeded Maharashtra ‘A’ 3-1 in the quarterfinals of the women’s team event in the National table tennis championships at the Kotla Vijay Bhaskara Reddy indoor stadium on Wednesday. Reeth Rishya turned out to be the lynchpin in the southern side, winning both her singles despite injury.

Laid low by a muscle pull in her left leg, Reeth needed medical attention in her opening rubber against Divya Deshpande. She trailed 1-2 but clawed her way back. Down 7-10 in the decider, the diminutive paddler got the better of her higher-ranked opponent 14-12.

Maharashtra equalised through Madhurika Patkar, who defeated Amrutha Pushpak, the former No. 7. Vidya Narasimhan hung on gamely to overcome Charvi Kawle.

Reeth then took on Patkar in the decider, pushing the latter backwards with deep drives. The Tamil Nadu lass scored points by the handful with her wristy backhand flicks, mostly when returning serve.

“The backhand is my strong point and since I can open both flanks with it, I was able to counter Madhurika’s strong serves effectively,” said Reeth, an Assistant Officer with Indian Oil in Chennai. “I didn’t go for any flashy strokes but made sure I landed the ball,” she said.

Looking back on her two wins, Reeth said she knew the games of her opponents as they train together during camps. “The backing from my team made me keen to win,” she said.

The results – women’s team (quarterfinals): PSPB beat Madhya Pradesh 3-0 (Mouma Das beat Himani Bhatt 11-7, 11-6, 11-9; Ankita Das beat Anusha Kutumbale 13-15, 11-7, 12-14, 11-6, 12-10; Pooja Sahasrabudhe beat Vandana Singh 1-3, 11-6, 11-5).

RBI beat North Bengal 3-1 (Talnikar Shruti lost to Takeme Sarkar 7-11, 9-11, 5-11; Shwetha Parte beat Sagarika Mukherjee 8-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-4; Lahkar Kakoli beat Sukanya Bose 11-4, 13-11, 24-22; Shweta Parte beat Takeme Sarkar 8-11, 14-12, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6).

Tamil Nadu beat Maharashtra ‘A’ 3-1 (Reeth Rishya beat Divya Deshpande 11-9, 5-11, 10-12, 11-9, 14-12; Amrutha Pushpak lost to Madhurika Patkar 10-12, 12-10, 5-11, 5-11; Vidya Narasimhan beat Charvi Kawle 5-11, 11-6, 11-8, 12-14, 11-8; Reeth Rishya beat Madhurika Patkar 11-9, 11-6, 13-11).

West Bengal beat Karnataka 3-0 (Mousumi Paul beat Archana Kamath 11-5, 11-5, 5-11, 14-12; Krittwika Sinha Roy beat Swetha Kumaravel 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9; Ayhika Mukherjee beat Spoorthi Venkatesham 11-5, 11-5, 11-5).

Pre-quarterfinals: PSPB beat Andhra Pradesh 3-0, Madhya Pradesh beat Maharashtra ‘B’ 3-2, North Bengal beat Telangana 3-1, RBI beat Odisha 3-0, Maharashtra ‘A’ beat Pondicherry 3-0, Tamil Nadu beat Delhi 3-1, Karnataka beat Rajasthan 3-0, West Bengal beat Gujarat 3-0.