Surat (Gujarat) [India], September 24 (ANI): Veteran Indian table tennis star Sharath Kamal forfeited his quarterfinals match at the National Games 2022 eventually pulling out of the tournament on Friday.
Second-seeded Sharath Kamal had made India proud with three golds and a silver at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
The table tennis events have started before the formal opening of the National Games on September 27 as the dates of the table tennis World Cup were coinciding with the schedule of pan-India games.
Kamal, leading 2-1 and 6-1 in the fourth game of his quarterfinal against seventh-seed Soumyajit Ghosh, pulled out and gave a walkover to his opponent after a back spasm restricted his movement. Even before the mandatory medical time of 10 minutes could be over, Sharath shook hands with Ghosh.
Tending his back with an icepack, Sharath said he didn't want to aggravate it any further. "I wanted to participate in National Games, and my rhythm was nice but had to give up in the middle of the match," he said as quoted by TTIF website.
Sathiyan, playing in his usual aggressive style, dominated except for the third game. Though Manav managed to extend him in the next two games, the top seed was never under any real threat. Local favourite Harmeet Desai, the fourth seed, simply toyed with Deepit Rajesh Patil of Maharashtra and won 4-0. But his teammate and left-handed Manush Shah, who trailed 0-2, came back strongly to beat Telangana's SFR Snehit 4-2.
The Telangana boy, who began well, lost his touch with far too many unforced errors that helped Manush seize the crucial moments and points.
Top women's seed Manika Batra dropped two games after opening positively but came back strong to beat Krittwika Sinha Roy 4-2 in her quarterfinal match. Suddenly she went into a shell when the Gujarat paddler raised her game to go 2-1 up. But an undeterred Manika levelled the score and finished in style, taking the fifth and sixth games. However, it was a cakewalk for second-seed Sreeja Akula into the semifinals with a 4-0 win over West Bengal's Ayhika Mukherjee.
In the other two quarterfinals that went down to the wire, Sutirtha Mukherjee struggled before overcoming fourth-seed Reeth Rishya 4-1, causing an upset. However, the best match of the day was played between third-seed Diya Chitale and unseeded Suhana Saini.
The Haryana girl, showing her gritty side, matched every stroke of Diya and levelled the score after the Maharashtra teenager led 3-2. In the decider, however, the dice were loaded in favour of Diya, who led 5-1. Suhana did save a match point but Diya wrapped it up on her next.
Meanwhile, third-seeded Sanil Shetty, Anirban Ghosh, Anusha Kutumbale, Swastika Ghosh and Takeme Sarkar exited in the pre-quarterfinals.
Men: G. Sathiyan (TN) bt Manav Thakkar (Guj) 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 14-12, 13-11; Harmeet Desai (Guj) bt Deepit R Patil (Mah) 11-3, 11-6, 11-2, 11-9; Manush Shah (Guj) bt SFR Snehit (Telg) 3-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9; Soumyajit Ghosh (Har) w/o Sharath Kamal (TN).
Semifinal line-up: G. Sathiyan vs Harmeet Desai; Soumyajit Ghosh vs Manush Shah.
Women: Manika Batra (Del) bt Krittwika Sinha Roy (Guj) 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4; Sutirtha Mukherjee (WB) bt Reeth Rishya (Mah) 11-9, 12-10, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9; Diya Chitale (Mah) bt Suhana Saini (Har) 11-5, 4-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9; Sreeja Akula (Telg) bt Ayhika Mukherjee (WB) 11-4, 11-6, 11-5, 11-4.
Semifinal line-up: Manika Batra vs Sutirtha Mukherjee; Diya Chitale vs Sreeja Akula. (ANI)