Archana happy to have contributed to Challengers' 'amazing win'

Archana Kamath was pleased to have overcome Krittwika Sinha Roy in the final tie of a close contest to clinch victory for Goa Challengers.

Archana Kamath (in picture) beat Krittwika Sinha Roy 6-11, 11-2, 11-8.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Sometimes, small moments add up to make a decisive difference in a close contest. In a nip-and-tuck battle at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex here, Shruti Amrute, Anthony Amalraj and Archana Kamath made crucial contributions to hand Goa Challengers a narrow victory over Dabang Delhi despite the loss of star player Cheng I-Ching due to fever.

Amrute, placed 887 in the ITTF rankings, stunned Bernadette Szocs, the World No. 14, by clinching the final game in a 2-1 defeat. That loss of one game proved to be costly for Delhi on the day.

For Kamath, who had to play the final tie of the contest, the task wasn’t altogether straightforward. She was facing, in her own admission, a difficult opponent, albeit one she had defeated in the final of the National Championships in January, 2019. When she walked in to play Krittwika Sinha Roy, the score was even at 6-6. The winner of the tie would determine the winning team.

READ | Goa noses past Dabang in a thriller; Archana clinches match-winner

As it turned out, Kamath erased a 0-1 deficit to defeat Roy 2-1.

"Actually, she is a very tough opponent for me. We’ve always played close. In the Nationals, it was the first time I beat her, so for me, when I entered the match, it was 50-50. She played extremely well today; I’m happy I could win," she told Sportstar after the win.

Commenting on team-mate Amrute’s performance, she said: “It was a very amazing win. I’m very happy for her and happy for the team. She just went out there to go all out and then she kept fighting. It was really amazing. It was really great to get that one game from [Szocs].”

She added: “[Anthony Amalraj] played really well and so did Alvaro Robles. He was down in the first game against [G.] Sathiyan and then to come back [was commendable]. I think it’s a really good performance by the team.”

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Winning and losing aside, the league had been giving Indian players lots to learn, Kamath felt.

"This is a really good exposure for all of us. When they are conducting the UTT so well, it’s also a matter of pride. The best part, it’s not only that we get to play against the foreigners but also beat them. It is really great; we get to learn how they are one and off the court, how they prepare before the matches, how they fight during the matches, how they are after the matches. There are lots to learn in terms of skill and temperament," Kamath, who was part of the title-winning Dabang Delhi side last year, said.

After her UTT 2019 sojourn, Kamath will be back plying her trade in ITTF events. She will next play Bulgarian Open (World Tour) later this month, and then the Czech Open in September.

“In terms of my goals, I just want to take it tournament by tournament, match by match. Keep improving. I have a very long way to go and much to learn,” she said.