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Hosts’ A-class performance helps team complete a hat-trick of titles
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Hosts’ A-class performance helps team complete a hat-trick of titles

Indore, Feb 13: The A team of Madhya Pradesh completed a hat-trick of titles as their men won the 70+ crown beating a spirited Chandigarh A in Wednesday final of the 26th Masters National Table Tennis Championships at the Abhay Prashal here.

Santosh Kaushik was the star master, winning both his singles to make amends for the loss of the second tie by teammate Indresh Purohit. However, the two combined really well against the Chandigarh pair of Pantanji Kumar and Balbir Singh Virdi to put Madhya Pradesh on path to victory before Santosh put the final stamp of authority in his reverse singles against Balbir Singh Virdi to win 9-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-8.

Earlier, he had beaten Pantanji Kumar 11-6, 11-1, 11-6 to provide the lead which was neutralized by Balbir Singh who beat Indresh 12-10, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6.

In women 60+ final, Maharashtra A could not prove their superiority as they went down to Maharashtra B 1-3, after leading 2-1. Ujwala Marathe lost to Suhasini Bakre 2-11, 3-11, 5-11, but Ranjana S. Patki did the star turn for them with two singles victory, first over Rajeshwari Mhetre (6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-3) and then beat Suhasini 9-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 12-10 in a thriller. In between Havri Bhalchndra accounted for Jyoti Kulkarni of Maharashtra A in straight games.

The other two titles decided on the day in Women 40+ and 50+ went the way of West Bengal A teams.

In a needle final in 40+ section, Mousumi Banerjee had to summon all her experience to beat Radhika Dorle 11-8, 7-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8 in the decider to help her team win the crown 3-2. Earlier, she lost her opening tie to Anjana P Rao of Karnataka 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 7-11, 7-11 but Meenu Basak restored parity for West Bengal winning her singles against Radhika 11-3, 11-5, 11-7.

However, Deepali Shital Gotadke put Karanataka up with a win (11-5, 12-10, 11-8) over Kuntail Bhattacharya, only to be levelled by Meenu who beat Anjana Rao 4-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-5.

In contrast, West Bengal A when they blanked out Madhya Pradesh A 3-0 in women 50+, thanks to a fine combination of Maity Karabi, Murmu Mantu and Sur Mondira.

For West Bengal, the first tie proved crucial as Maity was stretched full by Rubi Kaur before losing 6-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 4-11. But for Murmu it was easy against Manisha Kataria, winning the tie 11-4, 11-5, 11-6. Then Sur completed the task against Rashmi Soni in another straight game to take the gold.

Earlier in the day, Maharashtra A team’s men won the Men 65+ title when they beat Tamil Nadu A 3-1. After having had a smooth passage into the final, the Maharashtra squad saw to it that they didn’t face any trouble in the final against Tamil Nadu, who managed just a rubber before being subdued.

On the opening day, three team finals were decided as Karnataka A defeated Andhra Pradesh A 3-0 to win the Men 75+ title while the Men 80+ crown also was annexed by Karnataka A as they topped the three-team league. Uttar Pradesh finished second while Gujarat A ended as the third squad.

In women’s 65+, also played in a league format, Gujarat A women topped the chart, pushing Maharashtra A to the second spot, with Telangana A and Karnataka A sharing the bronze medals. (UNI)