Updated: February 4, 2017 9:41:13 pm
Top seed Sharath Kamal, eyeing his first title since 2010, eased into the pre-quarterfinals of the men’s singles at the 11Even Sports Senior Table Tennis Nationals in Haryana on Saturday.
Sharath, who is India’s highest-ranked player at 62, won his opening two rounds with minimum fuss. He brushed aside Raja Kundu of North Bengal in the opening round and was leading by two games when his second round opponent, Nitin Thiruvengadam of Karnataka, conceded the match.
He plays Airport Authority of India’s Sarthak Gandhi in the pre-quarterfinals later on Saturday.
Gandhi got the better of West Bengal’s Arjun Ghosh 4-3 in a tough second round match.
After the convincing wins, Sharath said it will be special to regain the title, though he is taking one match at a time.
He arrived here after the conclusion of the team championships as PSPB shockingly dropped him from the team.
“The bigger picture is always about doing well on the international circuit but it will be nice to win another national title. It has been a while since I did that,” Sharath told PTI.
In other second round matches, all seeds moved into the round of 16 barring eighth-seed Manav Thakkar of PSPB.
Sourav Saha of Haryana had to dig deep to beat Manav 4-2. The PSPB youngster dug himself out of the precarious position when he was trailing 1-2. Manav won the fourth game 15-13 after losing a couple of game points, to put the pressure back on Sourav, but the Haryana paddler bounced back in the next two games and sealed the issue.
Another PSPB paddler, Subhajit Saha, despite leading 3-1, went through some harrowing moments when West Bengal’s Anirban Nandi restored parity before bowing out.
But it was Gujarat’s Jignesh Jaiswal, the oldest male player at 38, who stole the limelight. He beat Delhi’s Utkarsh Gupta 11-9, 11-8, 3-11, 7-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-8 in a match where fortunes fluctuated from one extreme to another.
Jignesh won the first two and last two to make a match of it and will now take on fifth seed Harmeet Desai of PSPB in the pre-quarterfinals. Desai beat Haryana’s Mohit Verma 4-0.
West Bengal’s Ronit Bhanja overcame stiff resistance from Tamil Nadu’s Anand Raj Rajan, posting a 4-2 win.
It was a tough win for Raj Mondal of RBI against Maharashtra’s Ravindra Kotiyan, while Gujarat’s Devesh Karia huffed and puffed his way into the pre-quarters with a 15-13, 10-12, 12-14, 11-1, 8-11, 12-10 victory over PSPB’s Birdie Boro.
In women’s second round matches, top-seed Madhurika Patkar was fully stretched when Tamil Nadu’s Selenadeepthi Selvakumar made a valiant effort before losing 12-10, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 6-11, 9-11.
Among other seeded players, third seed Mouma Das faced an upset when qualifier from West Bengal, Shreya Ghosh, beat the Rio Olympian 15-13, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9 for her early exit in the second round.
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