Sharath, Madhurika win West Zone titles

Achanta Sharath Kamal beat qualifier Anirban Ghosh in the final while Madhurika Patkar put it across Divya Deshpande in a drab women’s final.

(From left): Manush Shah, Madhurika Patkar, Sreeja Akula and Achanta Sharath Kamal, winners of the 11Sports-West Zone National-ranking table tennis tournament at Pune.   -  Jignesh Mistry

Sharath Kamal’s form in the 11Sports-West Zone National-ranking table tennis tournament had been fluctuating, to say the least.

Like a true champion, the 36-year-old stayed on course and showed his class in the final. Against qualifier Anirban Ghosh, Sharath Kamal was in sublime form as he overpowered the 19 year-old in a completely one-sided summit clash to bag his first title of the season.

Madhurika Patkar triumphed in the summit clash with a 7-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5 scoreline over Divya Deshpande in a drab women’s final. Earlier, Madhurika put it across Manika Batra, the second seed, in six games in the semifinals.

After all he went through in the earlier rounds, it was an anti-climax for the eight-time National champion. Sharath just about managed to beat Sanish Ambekar in the round of 32 in seven games, and warded off a stiff challenge from Arjun Ghosh in six games in the pre-quarterfinals, before drubbing M. Subhash in the quarterfinals.

Read: Quality of balls, the bone of contention at National ranking tournament

The reigning National champion escaped from the jaws of death in the semifinals, staving off two match points. Trailing 4-9 and 8-10 in the seventh game against Anthony Amalraj, Sharath roared back in style to win the game and the match.

Anirban was too much in awe of his opponent to make a match of it. And Sharath took complete control of the proceedings early on. Seeded 13th, Sharath served well and received Anirban’s serve equally well.

Sharath was also brilliant on the counters, and Anirban was a shadow of his own self. 

“For me, the semifinals [against Amal] was the final. He [Anirban] had too much respect for me and I used it completely. But I must say he has a bright future,” said Sharath.

The women’s final saw Madhurika and Divya struggle to find their A games. Both committed far too many unforced errors, and the final turned out to be under-whelming.

Not quite an attacking player, Divya relies more on placements and deception. The eighth seed gave a glimpse of her talent on quite a few occasions. On the whole, Madhurika, the third seed, though error-prone, got her attacking rhythm at crucial junctures to pocket her first title.

“I was struggling to find my rhythm till I found it in the East Zone in Guwahati [she reached the final]. It is a great motivation to win my first title ahead of the Belgium Open Challenge,” said Madurika.

Results

Men: Final: A. Sharath Kamal (PSPB) bt Anirban Ghosh (RSPB) 11-6, 11-8, 11-3, 11-5; Semifinals: Sharath bt A. Amalraj (PSPB) 12-14, 7-11, 11-9, 14-12, 11-7, 9-11, 13-11; Anirban bt Sanil Shetty (PSPB) 11-9, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9.

Youth Boys: Final: Manush Shah (Guj) bt Jeet Chandra (Har) 11-6, 12-10, 12-10, 13-11.

Women: Final: Madhurika Patkar (PSPB) bt Divya Deshpande (PSPB) 7-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5; Semifinals: Divya bt Sagarika Mukherjee (RSPB) 11-6, 11-7, 11-1, 9-11, 11-6; Madhurika bt Manika (PSPB) 10-12, 11-1, 13-11, 6-11, 11-9, 12-10.

Youth Girls: Final: Sreeja Akula (RBI) bt Prapti Sen (WB) 11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 14-16, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10.