National Games: Harmeet, Sutirtha send top seeds packing; Shah-Krittwika bag TT mixed doubles gold | More sports News

SURAT: Gujarat Harmeet Desai and West Bengal Sutirtha Mukherjee came with inspired performances to upset the top seeds G Sathiyan and Manika Batra reach the men’s and women’s table tennis finals in National games Saturday.
Harmeet beat Sathiyan 4-2 while Sutirtha got the better of Manika by an identical margin. Later in the session, Gypsy Shah and Krittwika Sinha Roy clinched mixed doubles gold for Gujarat, earning him a standing ovation from the crowded stadium.
But it was the gripping clash between two Team India players that caught the fans’ attention during the morning session.
Harmeet took advantage of the vociferous support of the home crowd to start the semi-final clash against world No. 37 Sathiyan taking an 8-0 lead in the first set and never looked back afterwards.
By the time Sathiyan found his footing, the home hero was leading two sets to nil. The top seed managed to catch up with last edition’s silver medalist by winning the next two sets, but that did little to dent Harmeet’s confidence.
The 29-year-old from Surat tightened his defense, stuck to his game plan and ended the semi-final on the third match point of the sixth set to stay on course for his second gold medal of these Games. He had led Gujarat to the men’s team gold medal earlier this week.
The chances of a top clash in Gujarat’s men’s singles, however, were dashed when Haryana’s Soumyajit Ghosh came from a set down to beat Manush Shah 4-1 in the other semi-final.
In the women’s singles semi-final, Sutirtha also dominated Manika in the first match of the day.
She countered the threat of Manika’s backhand by effectively slowing the rallies to win the first two sets. Manika threatened to come back after saving a set point before winning the third.
The two players split the next two sets but Sutirtha took control of the sixth opening a 5-1 lead and then wrapped up the semi-final on the first match point.
Sutirtha, who has already won the team gold medal and also reached the women’s doubles final, will face second seed and national champion Sreeja Akula in the gold medal match. The Telangana paddler had little trouble beating Maharashtra’s Diya Chitale 4-1.
“I’m quite comfortable playing her because we’ve been playing together for a long time. There were quite a few good exchanges but I had fun there,” Sutirtha said after his win.
Meanwhile, Gujarat clinched their first individual gold of the Games after Shah and Krittwika Sinha Roy secured a straight-sets win over Telangana’s Sreeja and FR Snehit in the mixed doubles final.
The Gujarat pair were barely tested in the gold medal encounter, winning 11-8, 11-5, 11-6.
Both bronze medals went to West Bengal.

Leave a Comment