South Zone Nationals: Birdie Boro, Siddhesh Pande upset top seeds

While Harmeet Desai, the third seed and Raj Mondal, the fifth seed bowed out, seventh-seeded Sanil Shetty survived by the skin of his teeth, saving five match points against Nitin Thiruvengadam to win 4-3 and enter the pre-quarterfinals.

Birdie Boro who upset the third seed Harmeet Desai in the LIC-IOC South Zone National-ranking table tennis tournament in Dharwad here on Friday.   -  Ravindra Hemmad


There was no dearth of action in the men’s third round matches of the LIC-IOC South Zone National-ranking table tennis tournament at the District Indoor Stadium here on Friday.

While Harmeet Desai, the third seed and Raj Mondal, the fifth seed bowed out, seventh-seeded Sanil Shetty survived by the skin of his teeth, saving five match points against Nitin Thiruvengadam to win 4-3 and enter the pre-quarterfinals. The top two seeds, Sharath Kamal, G. Sathiyan and former National champion A. Amalraj cruised to the last-16 without much ado.

Birdie Boro of PSPB (Petroleum Sports Promotion Board) and Maharashtra’s Siddhesh Pande delivered on the big stage with thumping wins. Boro made a strong statement with a 4-2 win over Harmeet while Siddhesh, the former National junior champion (2015) played an attacking seventh game to defeat Raj 4-3.

The decider saw Siddhesh play with an uncluttered mind, going for his shots. He hardly made unforced errors on both flanks when he was under pressure. From 4-each, the 19-year-old from Mumbai ran away with the match.

Nitin had himself to blame against Sanil. With four match points at 10-6 in the sixth game, he could have pocketed the match, but wilted like a candle committing several unforced errors. He had one more match point in the sixth game at 11-10 only to lose that, too.
The decider, too, went to the wire. Nitin led 9-7, before Sanil equalised. The former National champion closed out the match on his second match point when Nitin dumped a backhand return into the net.

The results:

Men’s (round of 32):

Sharath Kamal (PSPB) bt Ananth Devarajan (TN) 11-7, 9-11, 14-12, 11-9; Anirban Nandi (RSPB) bt Saurav Saha (PSPB) 11-8, 12-10, 12-10, 12-10; Omkar Torgalkar (Mah ‘A’) bt Utkarsh Gupta (Del) 11-7, 10-12, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6; Sougata Sarkar (LIC) bt Jalay Mehta (Guj) 11-7, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8;  Siddhesh Pande (Mah ‘A’) bt Raj Mondal (RBI) 4-11, 11-8, 5-11, 4-11,11-4, 11-8, 11-5; Manav Thakkar (PSPB) bt Vivek Bhargava (Raj) 6-11, 11-6, 11-6, 13-11, 11-5; Subhajit Saha (PSPB) bt Jubin Kumar (PSPB) 11-9, 17-15, 15-13, 6-11,11-8; Arjun Ghosh (AAI) bt Sanish Ambekar (Mah ‘A’) 9-11, 11-7, 13-11,11-6, 8-11, 11-8; Birdie Boro (PSPB) bt Harmeet Desai (PSPB) 5-11, 11-3, 11-5,11-9, 9-11,11-7; Jeet Chandra (WB) bt Ronit Bhanja (WB) 11-6,11-9, 11-8, 11-8; A. Amalraj (PSPB) bt Abhishek Yadav (PSPB) 11-6, 11-9, 12-10,11-7; Sanil Shetty (PSPB) bt Nitin Thiruvengadam (CB) 12-10, 9-11, 4-11, 7-11, 11-8, 16-14, 12-10;Ravindra  Kotiyan (PSPB) bt Sushmit Sriram (AAI) 11-2, 5-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5, 5-11, 11-5; Sudanshu Grover (PSPB) bt Devesh Karia (Guj) 5-11,11-3, 11-1, 11-4, 11-5;  G. Sathiyan (PSPB) bt S. Sivananda (CRSB) 11-8, 11-6, 11-7, 11-1.