Harsha Vardhini in main drawSeptember 7, 2017
Harsha Vardhini of RBI very nearly lost the match and failed to qualify for the main draw of the LIC-South Zone National-ranking table tennis tournament at the District Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.
Set to play against N. Vidya of Central Revenue Sports Board in the second qualifying round, the 18-year old from Tamil Nadu arrived at the venue just on (extended) time.
Once on-court, Harsha played a diligent game to outwit Vidya 5-11, 11-9, 16-14, 12-10 to script her second straight win in her group to make the grade.
She is certain to make the grade as her third opponent in the group, Manisha Seal of Madhya Pradesh, too has given a walkover.
“This is my best performance in women’s as far as beating higher-ranked players are concerned,” said Harsha, who had reached the pre-quarterfinals on earlier occasions.
Former national champion Mouma Das’ fate hangs in the balance. Playing in the qualifiers for the first time in recent times, she won her first round against Senhora D’Souza of Maharashtra-A , but went down to AAI’s Frenaz Chipia 10-12, 11-7, 8-11, 8-11.
Mouma will take on Anubha Bajaj of Delhi on Thursday, and she will have to win to comfortably qualify for the main draw.
However, PSPB’s Manika Batra, the 2015-16 National champion, didn’t have any such problems, scripting two straight wins in her group to gain her main draw spot. Manika first defeated Assam’s 12-year-old Syeda Dania Taski 11-6, 11-2, 11-1. She then downed Rajasthan’s Nikita Rautela 11-8, 11-6, 13-11 in the second to seal her place.