Sreeja survives scare in junior TT

Indore, Sep 12 (IANS) Top ranked Manav Thakkar entered the semi-finals of both Cadet Boys and Junior Boys at the India Junior and Cadet Open Table Tennis Championships at Abhay Prashal here on Saturday.

But Srushti Haleangadi handed out junior national champion Archana Kamath a 2-3 loss in Cadet Girls quarter-finals in what was the only upset of the day.

Top ranked Sreeja Akula survived a 4-3 scare against Maria Rony in Junior Girls and Archana, making amends, beat Riti Shankar 4-0 to enter the semi-finals along with Priyanka Pareek and Seraha Jacob. Priyanka won against Shruti Amrute 4-1 while Seraha blanked out Srushti 4-0.

The quarter-finals in all categories also marked the exit of all but one foreign entrant in Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Alamri, who sent Snehit Suravajjula packing in Cadet Boys with a 3-2 verdict in the tight last eight match. But teammate Ali Akhadrawi was not so lucky when he went down to Siddesh Pande in straight games.

Srushti, who partnered Archana, to carve out the team gold a couple of days ago made a strong comeback. Down 0-2, she won the third game but what made her a completely transformed player was the extended fifth game which she won 12-10. And then she completed the formality with no great resistance coming from Archana, who made several net errors.

Though Manav won the Cadet singles without a sweat against Sarthak Seth, he was made to earn his points in Junior Boys, thanks to an enterprising game by Indonesian Deepash Bhagwani. An immigrant from Uttar Pradesh, the boy from Jakarta managed to take a game off Manav, despite the latter being in good form. Earlier, Shaurya Pednekar ousted higher ranked Manush Shah in Cadet quarter-finals, winning 3-1.

But the match of the day was between Sreeja and Maria. The top-ranked Sreeja, tailing 0-2, had to bring all the gains from her recent foreign exposure to the fore to outwit Maria. The latter kept her interests alive when she claimed the fifth game but Sreeja’s aggressive returns and excellent backhand play reversed it all her way.

All semi-finals and finals, including Junior Boys and Junior Girls doubles, will be played on Sunday, the concluding day of the championships.

Quarter-finals results:

Cadet Boys: Manav Thakkar bt Sarthak Seth 11-6, 11-3, 11-6, Abdulaziz Alamri (KSA) bt Snehit Suravajjula 11-4, 11-8, 7-11, 4-11, 11-9, Shaurya Pednekar bt Manush Shah 11-6, 11-4, 10-12, 11-9, Parth Virmani bt Anukram Jain 11-4, 11-5, 14-12.

Cadet Girls: Srushti Haleangadi bt Archana Kamath 8-11, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-6, Prapti Sen bt Varuni Jaiswal 11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 15-13, Surbhi Patwari bt Diya Chitale 11-8, 11-6, 13-11, Yashini Sivasankar bt Zauresh Akasheva (KAZ) 12-10, 11-8, 11-9.

Junior Boys: Lalrin Puia bt Sanish Ambekar 11-7, 11-13, 11-4, 11-4, 11-2, Manav Thakkar bt Deepash Bhagwani (INA) 11-5, 11-8, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5, Ravindra Kotiyan bt Abhimanyu Mitra 11-8, 1-11, 11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, Siddesh Pande bt Ali Alkhadrawi (KSA) 11-8, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9.

Junior Girls: Sreeja Akula bt Maria Rony 8-11, 5-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, Seraha Jacob bt Srushti Haleangadi 11-8, 11-7, 11-2, 11-7, Priyanka Pareek bt Shruti Amrute 7-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7, Archana Kamath bt Riti Shankar 11-5, 11-8, 11-4, 13-11.

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