Chandigarh, June 26: Haryana’s Suhana Saini made a bright start to the season, winning the Cadet Girls’ crown in the 11Even Sports National Ranking (North Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Panjab University Gymnasium Indoor Hall here today.
Suhana blanked out Uttar Pradesh’s Ambika Gupta in the final with a 4-0 verdict to carry home a winner’s purse of Rs 7,000 and a golden take-away trophy, while Ambika had to settle for half the prize money and a silver trophy.
Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabu, who was the chief guest at the function, gave away the trophies and prize money to the finalists
Later in the evening, in what was an all-Tamil Nadu clash in the final, S.Preysh outwitted a normally cool S. Tharun to win the Cadet Boys title and the prize purse of Rs. 7000. In the gripping final, fortunes changed hands as swiftly as the quick shots the two left-handers played. Preysh opened with a win the first game, but the next one went his opponent’s way. The pattern continued even after Tharun winning an extended fourth game, which saw several deuces, at 16-14. But then, in the decider Tharun made a few unforced efforts that put paid to his ambitions, leaving Preysh a clear winner by the narrowest of margins.
Coming back to Cadet Girls final, this was Suhana’s second crown, having won her maiden title in the North Zone event last year at New Delhi. For Ambika, on the other hand, it was her second appearance in a Cadet final, having accomplished it once before in the nationals at Kolkata last year. There too, the promising girl from UP had to satisfy herself with the silver medal.
Nevertheless, it was a good outing for both the girls. For they had two very good opponents in the semifinals—Ambika faced Delhi’s Lakshita Narang and Suhana took on Tamil Nadu’s Kavyashree Bhaskar. In fact, the Tamil Nadu girl had ended the last season with two titles (Central and West Zone) while Lakshita had won the South Zone final at Chennai.
As compared to her last year’s final at Delhi where her opponent was Lakshita, it was a field day for the Haryana girl. Lakshita had stretched a nervy Suhana the full distance at Delhi, but today was a cool day for her. Suhana notched up easy wins in the first two games. But it was the third game that gave some trouble for the Haryana girl who, after being locked at 8-8, squandered a two-point advantage to let Ambika deuce at 10-all. But the UP girl could not utilize the opportunity as Suhana took the next two points on her serve to shut her out.
With a 3-0 lead, it was always going to be difficult for Ambika who, however hard she tried to come back in the fourth, she was found wanting in certain areas, particularly her backhand returns, which Suhana exploited to the hilt.
The left-handed Ambika could have been better off with her attacking game plan as was evident in the third game. However, she was patchy to begin with and indulged in pushing and prodding until she woke up to the reality. But then it was too little and too late in the day for her to size up her rival and bring out her best in the final. Yet, the little girl from Allahabad can take heart from the fact that she was able to make two consecutive finals.
She has the left-hander’s grace, has a nice forehand flow, good returns and, above all, the knack to exploit the angles well. But what she needs is a little bit of polishing of certain stroke, especially backhand, to go more places.
Final: Suhana Saini (Har) bt Ambika Gupta (UP) 4-0 (11-5, 11-6, 12-10, 11-5);
Semifinals: Ambika Gupta bt Lakshita Narang (Del) 3-2 (11-2, 11-9, 3-11, 8-11, 11-6), Suhana Sain bt Kavyashree Bhaskar (TN) 3-2 (11-8, 11-5, 5-11, 8-11, 12-10);
Quarterfinals: Lakshita Narang bt Sucheta Prasad (WB) 3-1 (9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6), Ambika Gupta bt Suraya Venkataswmy (TN) 3-1 (11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8), Suhana Saini bt Sneha Bhowmick (WB) 3-0 (11-7, 11-5, 11-5), Kavyashree Bhaskar bt Prithoki Charaborty (WB) 3-2 (14-16, 6-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-7).
Final: S. Preysh (TN) bt S. Tharun (TN) 4-3 (11-9, 4-11, 11-8, 14-16, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9);
Semifinals: S.Tarun bt Sujan Bharadwaj (Kar) 3-2 (11-4, 11-13, 11-6, 13-15, 11-7), S. Preysh bt Rudra Narayan Ghosh (WB) 3-1 (9-11, 11-3, 11-9, 12-10);
Quarterfinals: Sujan bt Divyansh Srivastava (UP) 3-1 (4-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7), S. Tarun bt Jash Modi (Mah-B) 3-1 (7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-5), S. Preysh bt K. Yengkhon (PSPBA) 3-2 (11-13, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6), RN Ghosh bt Rajveer Shah (Mah-A) 3-0 (11-3, 12-10, 11-1).
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