Sharath gets a favourable drawSeptember 6, 2017
Sharath Kamal hopes his first visit to the district, for the LIC-South Zone National-ranking table tennis tournament beginning here on Wednesday, will prove fruitful. And the draw, appears to favour the top seed.
“I am coming here leaving my family, [so] I better win it,” the top seed told The Hindu on Tuesday, adding that the tournament would be good preparation for the Asia Cup in Ahmedabad from September 15 to 17.
Sharath might run into Saurav Saha in the pre-quarterfinals and Sougata Sarkar or Utkarsh Gupta in the quarters.
For G. Sathiyan, the second seed, it may not be smooth sailing. He could meet the dangerous Devesh Karia in the pre-quarterfinals and possibly Sanil Shetty after that. Harmeet Desai and A. Amalraj too are in Sathiyan’s half.
The 24-year-old, however, has been in sublime form of late, winning the Central Zone and all-India inter-institutional titles, and performing exceptionally well in the UTT.
Former National champion Soumyajit Ghosh will be a prominent absentee. This is the second tournament this season he will miss, after the Central Zone.
In the women’s section, Pooja Sahasrabudhe is the No. 1 seed, followed by Sutirtha Mukherjee. Pooja will possibly face seven-time National champion and last year’s runner-up Poulomi Ghatak in the quarterfinals, and reigning National champion Madhurika Patkar in the semifinals.
Sutirtha’s side of the draw has more upcoming players. The 17-year-old Archana Kamath might fancy her chances of making the semifinals.
Interestingly, Manika Batra and Mouma Das will play in the qualifiers. While Mouma didn’t take part in the two previous tournaments, Manika was unlucky. During the open draw, Archana and Poulomi edged Manika in the toss (for the seventh and eight spots), as all the three, with 55 points each, were joint seventh in the National rankings.
Dharwad last conducted a major National table tennis tournament when it hosted the all-India inter-institutional tournament in 2013, with Ghosh and K. Shamini winning.