Qualification Rounds Update from TableTennis Nationals
Former National champions Archana Kamath, Sutirtha Mukherjee and Madhurika Patkar, taking the qualification route, entered the women’s singles main draw in the 83rd Senior National and Inter-State Table Tennis Championships at the SAI Indoor Stadium.
With the direct entry stipulations restricting only the top eight ranked players in the second stage of the singles events, all these players went through the first-stage process. However, Sutirtha had to play out of her skin against Koushiki Dasgupta of Bengal to grab the lone spot.
They will be joining the top-ranked players lying in wait when the main draw events begin tomorrow afternoon. The competition department will once again rely on the electronic system to make the draw of 128.
The same system, introduced two weeks before the Nationals, was employed for team and other draws and the singles seeding.
Sutirtha, the Railways’ paddler, was comfortably placed with two wins in the four-player group 2. But the crucial last match in the group brought some miseries to the two-time national champion. In fact, she was 2-0 up but the Bengal youngster, producing excellent strokes, won the third game and the next to level the score 2-2.
Pushed to the corner, Sutirtha mustered the courage to win the decider 11-6, 11-9, 13-15, 10-12, 12-10, after deuce. But both Madhurika and Archana did not have to go through any such ordeal in their respective groups. The two former national champions won their group matches with identical 3-0 verdicts.
Youth paddler from Karnataka, Yashaswini Ghorphade, topped group 7 and proved her mettle. But Tamil Nadu’s Amrutha Pushpak should thank her luck for securing the topping group 12 despite a tie with the group’s third player, Mayuri Chatterjee of Assam, securing five points each. But Amrutha got in because she was able to beat Mayuri. Earlier, the TNTTA woman suffered a 1-3 (11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 7-11) loss as Neha Kumar of Bengal beat her.
With several matches still underway from the remaining latter groups, all the 73 qualifiers will emerge after the completion of third-round matches tonight.
Meanwhile, in the men’s singles, qualifiers played two rounds on the day. They will play the final round tomorrow before 73 paddlers are picked to join the 16 top-ranked players.