TN women send West Bengal out of medal reckoning

Players in action during Table Tennis tournament at University of Jammu on Wednesday.
Players in action during Table Tennis tournament at University of Jammu on Wednesday.

Excelsior Sports Correspondent
JAMMU, Mar 22: Tamil Nadu women fought till the last and emerged as winners to enter the semi-finals of the ongoing 84th UTT Inter-State National Table Tennis Championships at Gymnasium Hall of Jammu University, here today.
The other teams that joined them in the semi-finals included RBI, PSPB and Delhi.
The quarterfinal between Tamil Nadu and West Bengal (WB) finished five minutes short of four hours. At the end of the match, Tamil Nadu turned the tables on West Bengal 3-2 to ensure a bronze medal for the squad. Yashini Shivashankar played a stellar role and won both her singles, giving Tamil Nadu the edge.
West Bengal women, who ended up with the bronze, bowed out without a medal after their star player and former national champion, Sutirtha Mukherjee, failed against Yashini in their second singles. That proved to be West Bengal’s Achilles heel, as Kowshika Venkatesan beat Moumita Datta by 3-1 to wrap it up for the southern State.
Sutirtha put WB up when she beat Kowshika by 3-1, but Yashini restored parity when she downed Moumita Datta by 11-8, 5-11, 5-11, 15-13, 11-9. Kavyashree was well set to put TN ahead but lost an intense tie 11-8, 5-11, 12-10, 16-18, 8-11 to Prapti Sen. Yashini played her part, beating Sutirtha by 8-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9, 12-10, after trailing 0-2 in the fourth rubber. Kaushika, in the crucial last rubber, led 2-0 but dropped a game against Moumita. Soon, she changed her strategy and attacked at the first opportunity to accumulate her points and stopped Moumita well short in the fourth game.
For the lone knockout match, RBI beat Haryana, and PSPB downed Madhya Pradesh 3-0, respectively, while Delhi defeated last year’s runners-up Maharashtra 3-1 to enter the medal rounds.
The onus was on Swastika Ghosh and Taneesha Kotecha to put it across Delhi. But Swastika lost both her singles, first to Lakshika Narang 12-14, 7-11, 11-9, 15-13, 5-11, and to Vanshika Bhargava in straight games, killing whatever ambitions they nurtured before the match. Vanshika came to herself in the quarters and won her singles against Shruti Amrute 10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, before accounting for Swastika 11-9, 12-10, 12-10.
In the men’s quarterfinals, runners-up Railways sent Meghalaya Nationals silver medallists Maharashtra packing with a 3-1 verdict, defending champions PSPB beat West Bengal by 3-1, Delhi thrashed UP by 3-0, and Telangana ousted Haryana by 3-0 to enter the semi-finals.
In men’s quarterfinals: PSPB beat West Bengal 3-1; Delhi defeated Uttar Pradesh 3-0; Telangana beat Haryana 3-0; RSPB trounced Maharashtra 3-1.
In women’s quarterfinals: RBI beat Haryana 3-0; Delhi defeated Maharashtra 3-1; Tamil Nadu beat West Bengal 3-1 and PSPB defeated Madhya Pradesh 3-0.