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Sreeja defends her national crown, Sathiyan earns his second title

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JAMMU: Defending champion Sreeja Akula of RBI claimed a second successive women’s singles crown after beating Sutirtha Mukherjee of West Bengal 4-2 in the 84th UTT Inter-State Senior National Table Tennis Championships here on Monday.

G. Sathiyan too claimed his second men’s singles national title, defeating Harmeet Desai in straight games at the Gymnasium Hall of Jammu University. He won the first crown in 2021, beating old foe Sharath Kamal in the Panchkula Nationals.

Both Sreeja and Sathiyan were richer by Rs. 2.75 lakh each following their victories.

Sreeja was scratchy in the final. Whenever in trouble, she found a way to extricate herself from depth to do the unexpected. In other words, Sutirtha let her opponent off the hook as she couldn’t make the most of the best situations in the final.

Sutirtha was in fine form and had her forehand going well, executing some unbelievable cross-court shots, but Sreeja never relented from her attacking posture nor went into a shell.

Though Sutirtha won the first game, she should have also taken at least two of the next three games as she held two game points in each. But Sreeja’s boldness and passive play helped her to eventually record a 9-11, 14-12, 11-7, 13-11, 6-11, 12-10 win over the West Bengal player, a former national champion.

Sathiyan, on the other hand, was in his zone in the final, exemplifying it with a fast-paced game against Harmeet.

The former’s superiority on the day was visible as he stroked his way with thundering forehands. His backhand, too, cooperated with him without brooking any challenges from Harmeet.

Except for the first game that became too close for his comfort, Sathiyan dominated the show and inched his way up with the win in every game.

So frustrated was Harmeet that he lost steam and the desire to push Sathiyan further, losing the fourth game tamely. In the end, the scoreline read 11-9, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5 in favour of Sathiyan.

In men’s doubles, Jeet Chandra and Ankur Bhattacharjee of West Bengal defeated Mohammed Ali and Vansh Singhal of Telangana in straight games to lift the trophy.

Sreeja Akula and Diya Chitale combined well to beat the pair from Maharashtra, Swastika Ghosh and Shruti Amrute, 3-1 for the gold medal in the women’s doubles final.

In the mixed doubles final, Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath defeated Ankur Bhattacharjee and Moumita Datta from West Bengal 3-0.

In the earlier round, the West Bengal pair had accounted for the top-seeded Sathiyan and Manika Batra 3-0.

Results:

Men’s singles: Final: G. Sathiyan (PPB) bt Harmeet Desai (PSPB) 11-9, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5.

Semi-finals: G. Sathiyan bt Manav Thakkar (PSPB) 13-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-1, 9-11, 11-5; Harmeet Desaia bt Manush Shah (RBI) 11-6, 3-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6.

Men’s doubles: Final: Jeet Chandra/Ankur Bhattacharjee (WB) bt Mohammed Ali/Vansh Singhal (Telg) 11-6, 11-7, 11-6.

Semi-finals: Jeet Chandra/Ankur Bhattacharjee bt Akash Pal/Ravindra Kotiyan (RSPB) 9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-7; Mohammed Ali/Vansh Singhal bt Aniket Choudhury/Soumyadeep Sarkar (WB) 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-2.

Women’s singles: Final: Sreeja Akula (RBI) bt Sutirtha Mukherjee (WB) 9-11, 14-12, 11-7, 13-11, 6-11, 12-10.

Semi-finals: Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Ayhika Mukherjee (RBI) 12-10, 11-7, 11-5, 12-10; Sreeja Akula bt Archana Kamath (PSPB) 11-9, 11-3, 11-6, 9-11, 5-11, 11-7.

Women’s doubles: Final: Sreeja Akula/Diya Chitale (RBI) bt Swastika Ghosh/Shruti Amrute (Mah) 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 14-12.

Semi-finals: Sreeja Akula/Diya Chitale bt Prapti Sen/Poymantee Baisya (WB) 11-6, 11-5, 2-11, 11-5; Swastika Ghosh/Shruti Amrute bt Radhapriya Goel/Nithyashree Mani (AAI) 11-4, 11-2, 3-11, 15-13.

Mixed doubles: Final: Manav Thakkar/Archana Kamath (PSPB) bt Ankur Bhattacharjee/Moumita Datta (WB) 11-5, 14-12, 11-3.

Semi-finals: Ankur Bhattacahrjee/Moumita Datta bt G. Sathiyan/Manika Batra (PSPB) 11-6, 11-0, 11-0; Manav Thakkar/Archana Kamath bt Manush Shah/Sreja Akula (RBI) 11-9, 12-10, 10-12, 11-5. (PTI)

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