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Table tennis | Manika gathers to stop Archana in a day of confusion




Reeth Rishya turns the tables with defending champion Sutirtha Mukherjee.

With the prospect of defeat lurking, Manika Batra just managed to find a new gear. Then she just raced off with the last two matches against Archana Kamath on her way to the semi-finals of the National Table Tennis Championship at Panchkula on Wednesday.

In a match, seen as the final-for-the-final, Archana narrowly dropped the first two games, claimed the next three, but lost the way from the middle of the sixth. The final result was 13-11, 11-9, 4-11, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4 in favor of Manikas.

Manika will play fourth seed Sreeja Akula on Thursday, while Takeme Sarkar and Reeth Rishya, who are seeded 11th and 15th, will play in the other semifinals.

On a day when three rounds were planned, the pre-quarter finals saw Reeth dramatically turn the tables for defending champion and second seed Sutirtha Mukherjee. Lost 1-3 in the best-of-seven-game encounter, Reeth bounced back to win 6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 .

Sutirthas’ departure followed the ousting of three-time finalist Krittwika Sinha Roy. Runner-up to Archana and Sutirtha in two previous editions, Krittwika failed to match Takeme Sarkar, who posted an impressive 11-6, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 13-11 victory.

In a dramatic morning session, reigning Commonwealth title holder and third seed Ayhika Mukherjee, two former national champions Madhurika Patkar and Ankita Das, along with emerging talent S. Selenadeepthi, made the second round.

Pooja eliminated Ayhika 13-11, 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 12-14, 11-5, Kaushani eliminated Ankita 12-10,12-10, 11-3, 3-11, 11- 4, Poymantee Baisya took Madhurika 11-7, 11-5, 13-11, 3-11, 2-11, 6-11, 13-11 and Varuni Jaiswal surprised Selenadeepthi 11-6, 13-11, 11-8 6 -11, 8-11, 11-5.

The results (quarter-finals):

Ladies: Manika Batra (Pet) bt Archana Kamath (Kar) 13-11, 11-9, 4-11, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4; Sreeja Akula (RBI) bt Prapti Sen (Ben A) 7-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7; Takeme Sarkar bt Pooja Sahasrabudhe (Pet) 11-8, 9-11, 1-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9; Reeth Rishya (Pet) bt Kaushani Nath (Rlys) 11-2, 6-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9.

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