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Table Tennis: Reeth causes a stir as seeds Ayhika and Madhurika exit
Ajmer, November 2
Unseeded Reeth Rishya caused the major upset of the day when she defeated No. 3 seed Ayhika Mukherjee 4-1 to enter the quarter-finals of the 49th Inter-Institutional Table Tennis Championships at the MCC Indoor Stadium here today.
The day also saw a few other seeds being sent back but Reeth’s win was a revelation as the talented PSPB paddler showed glimpses of her past.
Manika Batra had starting trouble but hit the groove nicely against Bank of Baroda’s Senhora D’Souza, who lacked in endgame despite playing well against the top seed, who won 4-1. Among the other top-half seeds, fourth and fifth seeds—Sreeja Akula and Archana Kamath—barely survived, thanks to some fine push by their unseeded opponents, Moumita Dutta of Railways and Amrutha Pushpak of RBI. Sreeja won 4-3 and Archana won 4-2 to enter the quarterfinals.
Former national champion and No. 8 seed Madhurika Patkar put up a valiant effort against PSPB teammate Mousumi Paul, who had the last laugh. Madhurika down 0-3 launched herself late in the match to catch up with Mousumi at 3-3. But in the decider, the eight-seed failed to push the envelope and her rival surged into a good lead to maintain throughout.
Second-seeded Sutirtha dropped just a game before winding up business against Sagarika Mukherjee 4-1 but No. 3 Ayhika Mukherjee, who went down 1-4 to unseeded Reeth Rishya, was not at all in her elements. An improved Reeth’s job was made easy as Ayhka made several unforced errors, besides giving away too many negatives.
Shanmathi Sathyamoorthi of FCI, who just recovered from high temperature the day before, played brilliantly against RPSPB’s Kaushani Nath, but failed to capitalize on the chances. Leading 2-0 she could have made it 3-0 but her opponent won the extended game on her third game point. In the decider, Shanmathi ran her close after trailing 0-5 down to come close at 4-5 but then three consecutive negatives emboldened the case of Kaushani who won 4-3. Selena, on the other hand, messed it up after a comfortable 2-0 lead against Krittiwika to bow out 2-4.
In the morning, Anusha Kutumbale could not justify her seeding and went down to Shanmathi 2-4. The FCI woman beat the No. 6 seed 11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 13-11, 10-12, 11-8.
Earlier in the day, among men’s top-eight seeds, only six remained in fray as the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds, Jeet Chandra and Sudhanshu Grover, both of PSPB, exited in the second round of men singles. Hrishikesh Malhotra of Air India consumed Jeet 11-8, 11-6, 3-11, 11-7, 11-9, while Sudhanshu Grover went down 8-11, 4-11, 6-11, 8-11 in what was an absolute surrender.
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