West Zone TT: Yashaswini makes light of her challenges

The 15-year-old Yashaswini Ghorpade overcame extraordinarily hot and humid conditions, proving her superiority by lifting the junior girls’ title.

“It was a different experience but I really enjoyed the last week, getting to play with the best juniors in the world and then coming over and continuing in the same vein,” Yashaswini said after the win. (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)   -  K MURALI KUMAR

Since Yashaswini Ghorpade and Payas Jain were supposed to return from the World Cadet Challenge in Poland — where they were a part of Asian squads — late on Friday night, their junior girls’ and boys’ matches were rescheduled to Saturday in the UTT West Zone National Ranking table tennis tournament.

While three semifinalists had already been spotted, the duo — with barely six hours’ sleep after a long flight — had to start their surge on Saturday from the round of 32. While the travel and extraordinarily hot and humid conditions at the Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School took its toll on Payas in the semifinal, Karnataka’s Yashaswini proved her superiority by lifting the junior girls’ title.

Nail-biting final

Despite playing five matches in six hours, including the nail-biting final against Delhi’s Vanshika Bhargava where she clawed her way back after trailing 3-2, the 15-year-old Yashaswini appeared fresh as ever. “It was a different experience but I really enjoyed the last week, getting to play with the best juniors in the world and then coming over and continuing in the same vein,” Yashaswini told Sportstar after the final.

Barring the junior girls’ finals, the other three finals of the day turned out to be relatively one-sided affairs. Top seed Manush Shah of Gujarat put an end to Shubham Ambre’s giant-killing spree on home turf to win the youth boys’ title while Moumita Dutta overcame Anusha Kutumbale’s resistance in the youth girls’ final. Lanky Yashansh Malik emerged the junior boys’ winner, winning an all-Delhi final against southpaw Shreyaans Goel.

The results: Boys: Junior (U-18): Final: Yashansh Malik (Del) bt Shreyaans Goel (Del) 4-11, 11-9, 11-5, 12-10, 11-7. Semifinals: Goel bt Payas Jain (Del) 13-11, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11, 12-10; Malik bt H. Jeho (Miz) 11-8, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8.

Youth (U-21): Final: Manush Shah (Guj) bt Shubham Ambre (Mah) 11-7, 9-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-7. Semifinals: Manush bt Akash Pal (WB) 11-5, 11-3, 7-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3; Ambre bt Wesley Do Rosario (Har) 13-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-6.

Girls: Junior: Final: Yashaswini Ghorpade (Kar) bt Vanshika Bhargava (Del) 9-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 13-15, 11-9, 11-5. Semifinals: Vanshika bt Swastika Ghosh (Mah) 11-9, 6-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9; Yashaswini bt Munmun Kundu (WB) 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 12-10.

Youth: Final: Moumita Dutta (RSPB) bt Anusha Kutumbale (MP) 11-8, 11-4, 13-11, 7-11, 11-8. Semifinals: Anusha bt Swastika Ghosh (Mah) 4-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-4; Moumita bt Manushree Patil (Mah) 11-9, 12-10, 12-10, 9-11, 12-10.