Dharamsala, Nov 24 (IANS) The Assam girls edged past Kerala with a 3-2 win in the Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships at the Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.
The win over Kerala may not have put Assam in an invincible position, but it has more or less spelt doom for Kerala, who had beaten Goa 3-0 earlier in the day. With only two teams qualifying from each group for the main draw, which is the pre-quarterfinals, the chances of Kerala look bleak at this juncture, though they have a match against North Bengal.
Not only must Kerala beat them but do so convincingly, possibly a 3-0 win, to remain in contention for the second stage. Goa is the other team in group D and they were earlier defeated 3-0 by Kerala.
Incidentally, Kerala had entered the semi-finals in the last edition of the championships at Alleppey. But, on Tuesday they not only failed to replicate that performance but are in danger of being eliminated at the group stage itself. At the present moment, North Bengal with two wins have almost sealed their place in the pre-quarterfinals.
Kerala have to blame their players for inflicting the misery upon them, particularly Seraha Jacob, who lost both her singles. In comparison, Maria Rony won both her singles and kept things alive, despite Assam leading 2-0 after the doubles win.
Renuka Aswani fought well but lost to Adrija Sarmah 3-11, 8-11, 11-9,1-8, 6-11 and it was left to Maria to level the score. She struggled before beating Kritika Upadhya 11-7, 4-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4.
Now the ball was in Seraha’s court. But her opponent, Jitakhee Mazumdar, not only played well but breathed fresh life into the team with a 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5 verdict. The Kerala girl, on the other hand, was making far too many mistakes both at the net as well not being able to keep the ball on the table.
In junior boys, Uttar Pradesh upstaged Tamil Nadu 3-0. It was surprising to see Tamil Nadu surrender meekly despite Ananth Devarajan’s presence. Not only did he lose his singles but also the crucial doubles when he combined with teammate Sachin Viswanath Sivaramakrishnan to draw a blank on the scoresheet.