Senior Nationals: PSPB men, women win titlesApril 22, 2022
There wasn’t any doubt about the class of the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) (men and women) teams in the Senior Nationals and Inter-State table tennis championships here. What needed to be determined was only the margin of victory in the summit clash.
The PSPB men’s team retained the title (25th overall) while its women’s (16th) team also regained the crown, with identical 3-0 victories over Maharashtra-A teams.
The Maharashtra-A women team was expected to give PSPB a tough fight, but it turned out to be completely one-sided affair. Moreover, PSPB hadn’t won the women’s title in the last two editions in 2018 and 2019, finishing runner-up and third, respectively.
None of them, be it Diya Chitale, India joint No. 1 in domestic rankings, Swastika Ghosh or Annanya Basak would make a match out of it against PSPB.
In the first tie, PSPB’s Archana Kamath outclassed Diya in three straight games and Manika Batra was troubled by Swastika Ghosh briefly, before the National champion came down hard on her. Then in the third match, Reeth Rishya completed the formalities with a rather tough win over Annanya.
Though the PSPB men’s team won 3-0, the first two matches did go some distance.
The first match involving G. Sathiyan and Deepit Rajesh Patil was the best of the lot, and could have been the upset of the championships had the 18-year-old Deepit won those important moments of the tie. There were no signs of Deepit’s fightback in the first game. Sathiyan won the first 11-0 and midway in the second, the youngster started to show his mettle. Deepit’s reverse top-spin serves and forehand strokes matched Sathiyan point for point. But the 29-year-old reigning National champion got back in cruise control when it mattered.
In the second tie, Harmeet Desai fought hard to outwit Siddhesh Pande before Manav Thakkar put it across Jash Modi. Sharath Kamal was rested for the match.
The results (Team, finals)
Men: PSPB bt Maharashtra-A 3-0 (G. Sathiyan bt Deepit Rajesh Patil 11-0, 10-12, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, Harmeet Desai bt Siddhesh Pande 11-3, 11-3, 2-11, 11-7, Manav Thakkar bt Jash Modi 10-12, 11-1, 11-4, 12-10).
Women: PSPB bt Maharashtra-A 3-0 (Archana Kamath bt Diya Chitale 11-2, 11-7, 11-5, Manika Batra bt Swastika Ghosh 11-4, 11-7, 15-13, Reeth Rishya bt Anannya Basak 11-6, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7).