Sharath Kamal wins in national ranking south zone TT meet
Visakhapatnam, Oct 23 (IANS) Achanta Sharath Kamal outshone G. Sathiyan to win 4-1 in the men's singles final for his first title in six years in the National Ranking (South Zone) Table Tennis Championships here on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Suthirtha Mukherjee beat Krittwika Sinha Roy 4-0 for the women's singles crown at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium.
But the evening belonged to Sharath. All shots in the book, both close to the table and away from it, were on display and the first three games took everyone's breath, including that of his rival, away.
Sathiyan, normally an attacking player, was rendered motionless. So power-packed were Sharath's shots, particularly the ones directed at his body, that they were applauded by a near-packed VPT Stadium.
"A big monkey is off my back. Yes, the last time I won a title was at the 2010 Nationals. A big relief, indeed, and coming as it did at a time when I decided to move into India, the win will definitely motivate me," said Sharath.
In their third meeting -- they met each other in last year's Senior Nationals at Hyderabad and again in the team events of the Petroleum Meet -- Sharath was able to avenge his losses to Sathiyan.
Earlier, Sharath blanked out Harmeet Desai 4-0 but he faced the usual opening and end-game blues. But there was no nervousness in the final.
Sathiyan proved to be vulnerable when under pressure. But Sathiyan had his day earlier when he outscored Jubin Kumar for a 4-0 semi-final win. His Chennai-mate Sharath, for the moment, has put a solid lid on his ambition for a back-to-back title.
Suthirtha was unstoppable right from the day she started her season winning the women's singles title at Jaipur during the Institutional Championships. After her first national ranking trophy at Rajkot last week, the West Bengal girl scored an emphatic win to claim her back-to-back titles.
Krittwika could neither match Suthirtha's anticipation nor her guile and it reflected in the former's game.
Krittiwika tried hard but always fell short of expectations. Earlier in the semi-finals, Suthirtha defeated Mousumi Paul 4-1 and Krittwika Sinha Roy followed suit with a similar score line over Ankita Das to sail into the final.
PSPB boy Birdie Boro turned the tables on West Bengal's Arjun Ghosh to claim the season's first Youth Boys title. Birdie, who won 4-3, was in the dumps earlier but gathered well in what was the finest recovery in recent times.
The PSPB lad, like Arjun Ghosh who had finished a runner-up at Chandigarh, managed a second position at Rajkot.
But on Sunday, he showed a lot of guts and played like a champion to outsmart a wellplaced Arjun, who remained the bridesmaid once again and never the bride this season.
Manav Thakkar retained the Junior Boys title beating Delhi's Parth Virmani 4-1. The final witnessed good, long rallies and the two enthralled the crowd.
However, the Delhi boy couldn't do much in the face of Manav's percentage game, despite losing his extended first game.
Archana also reclaimed her youth girls title to complete the golden double when she beat Tamil Nadu's Seleenadeepthi Selvakumar 4-2. Just a little while ago, Archana had blanked her West Bengal rival Prapti Sen 4-0 to retain the Junior Girls crown.