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Golden day for Indian paddlers

Golden day for Indian paddlers
Highlights

India celebrated a rare success securing both the U-21 men’s singles and U-21 women’s singles titles at the GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour...

India celebrated a rare success securing both the U-21 men’s singles and U-21 women’s singles titles at the GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour Brazil Open at Santos. After Manika Batra accounted for host nation’s Caroline Kumahara 11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-5 to take the Under-21 women’s singles crown in what turned out to be a one-sided affair in the final, Soumyajit Ghosh defeated Benjamin Brossier of France 8-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-2 in a thrilling seven games encounter to win the Under 21 men’s singles title. The Indians also pocketed $1500 each for their title wins.

“I have played Caroline before this year and won the team event in the Slovak Republic,” said Manika. “I started the match confidently and tried to play slowly as she is a strong attacking player,” added the Delhi girl. Manika, a more matured player, varied her speed and used lot of backspin to dicated terms throughout the final. Unable to cope with her opponent’s bagful of tricks, Caroline succumbed to the disappointment of the hosts.

Earlier, Manika had prevailed over compatriot Suthirtha Mukherjee 11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10 in a tense match. Ghosh, who had beaten team mate G Sathiyan in the semi-finals 11-4, 11-7, 14-12, 9-11, 11-9 rather easily, knew Brossier was a hard nut to crack. Though Ghosh was up to the task, the Brazilian was time and again breathing down his neck in the final which saw fortunes fluctuating.

The Indian, however, had the measure of his rival, particularly in the decider, taking a 4-0 lead. Pumping his fist and more vocal with every point he secured through topspin, Ghosh stayed closer to the table to finish the job in style. Brossier was equally vehement in playing the attacking game but Ghosh emerged a notch better than his French rival.

What turned the corner at this juncture was the panicky ‘time out’ taken by the French. In fact, it worked to the Indian’s advance as he just allowed a couple of points before completing an Indian double. Ghosh, the reigning national champion, said after the win. “I was able to win those crucial points which made the difference in the sixth game. After that I was very confident of winning the match,” said Ghosh.

Meanwhile, Sagarika Ghosh won the Cadet Girls singles title while Birdie Boro had to be satisfied with the silver in the Cadet Boys singles at the Guatemala Junior and Cadet Open Table Tennis

championships. Sagarika, the winner of South Asian Junior title recently, beat Sreeja 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 to take gold in the final.
Birdie Boro lost 9-11, 8-11, 5-11 to Cuban Livan Martinez in the final of the Cadet Boys singles event. Earlier Boro had beaten team mate Anirban Ghosh 3-0 to enter the final.

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