Monday, Oct 21, 2002
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By Our Sports Reporter
The ouster of the National champion, Soumyadeep Roy, had left the field open and Subhajit feasted on the opportunity that came in his way. Despite being taken to seven games by cheeky A. Sarath Kamal, in their semifinal clash in the morning, Subhajit gave no hint of tiring and won 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-3, 11-7.
Nonetheless, the setting was in favour of Raman, the Inter-institutional champion. Just a few hours earlier, Raman had dispatched off the inform Bhushan Thakur, the conqueror of Soumyadeep Roy.
Subhajit, however, had some different plans for the evening.
"I had lost to Sarath in the Eastern India event in Jabalpur earlier this month. The win against him here boosted my morale and I didn't want to let go this one,'' Subhajit said.
Not particularly looking jaded, but Subhajit did struggle to keep the ball on the table which allowed Raman to open up a 2-7 lead in the first game. Second seeded Subhajit tried his best, but Raman closed it at 11-5.
Just when it seemed that the gruelling semifinal would take its second victim, Subhajit bounced back. He virtually glided to both the flanks and picked up some deep returns, which others might leave without an effort. It paid rich dividends as Subhajit won the next two games 11-9, 11-9.
By this time Raman gave up hopes of besting Subhajit and just about played to complete the formalities.
``This title was important for me. Nothing had come in my way for long,'' said Subhajit who now leaves for Nagpur, for the Western India event.
Inconceivably, both the men's and women's title matches failed to rise to the heights usually expected in the finals. The sparse crowd was treated to almost lop-sided contests, both ending at 4-1.
Former National champion Poulami Ghatak returned to the winning mode. In an all-Petroleum showdown, Poulami came out better, specially on the psychological side, and upset the current National champion Mouma Das 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-5.
``The 11-point format had troubled for past one year. I guess now I have got adjusted to it and I hope to do well in bigger tournaments,'' said Poulami, who had lost to Mouma at the same venue in the final of the 1996 sub-junior Nationals.
The morning semifinal encounter against Anandita Chakraborty which stretched to seven games, clearly took its toll on Mouma. To be precise, Mouma and Anandita played 136 points for about one and half hours.
Later in the final, Mouma made the mistake going into the offensive right from the first point. She took 3-0 lead, but then frittered it away as Poulami bided for the right moment.
The second was also a close game and could have gone the either way just that Mouma was lucky.
There were no long rallies as both relied on the serve and kill tactics. In such a situation, Poulami did well by keeping her cool while Mouma allowed her temper to fray.
After winning the third game, Poulami literally toyed with Mouma in the next two. She won the championship when Mouma put her high-toss serve wide.
``I didn't play that well. I was just a bit defensive and that probably helped me to counter her game,'' said Poulami of Mouma, who still uses orthodox pimpled surface on the forehand side.
In the junior category, Subhadeep Das of Bengal won the boys title defeating Uday S. Atreya of Karnataka 4-0. Product of the famous `Bengal School of table tennis', Subhadeep had made mockery of the ranking system by ousting top seed Arunava Ganguly of the Ajmer-based Petroleum Academy, in the semifinals on Saturday.
In the final, Subhadeep outwitted fourth seed Uday with his controlled game. The Bengal youngster dominated the proceedings in all but the second game, which went into the deuce. Subhadeep covered both the flanks well forcing Uday to attempt rash shots. Subhadeep won 11-5, 13-11, 11-7, 11-8.
The girl's title was cornered by Moushmi Pal of the Centre of Excellence, Kolkata, with a 4-2 verdict. Tamil Nadu's S. Sangeetha had the best chance to break the monopoly of Bengal paddlers, but after leading 2-1 she just couldn't give the finishing touches. Moushmi wrapped up the next three games and the winner's cheque.
Earlier in the morning, Devesh Karia of the Petroleum Academy and Sukanya Bose of Bengal annexed the sub-junior boys and girls titles respectively.
In a contest between the two top seeds, Devesh justified his billing with a 11-7, 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6 win. Sukanya needed a game less, winning 4-0 against Shikha Sharma of Delhi.
For Shikha, a place in the final itself was a consolation after being involved in a draining seven-game semifinal against Shabana Parveen of Bengal.
Men: Final: Subhajit Saha (PSPB) bt S. Raman (PSPB) 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-3, 11-7. Semifinals: S. Raman (PSPB) bt Bhushan Thakur (Rlys) 11-6, 11-7, 11-5, 3-11, 11-2; Subhajit Saha (PSPB) bt A. Sarath Kamal (Rlys) 11-5, 10-12, 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7.
Women: Final: Poulami Ghatak (PSPB) bt Mouma Das (PSPB) 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-5. Semifinals: Mouma Das (PSPB) bt Anandita Chakraborty (Rlys) 11-1, 11-9, 13-11, 8-11, 7-11, 8-11, 13-11; Poulami Ghatak (PSPB) bt Mamta Prabhu (Rlys) 11-5, 14-12, 12-10, 11-9.
Junior boys (final): Subhadeep Das (Ben) bt Uday S. Atreya (Kar) 11-5, 13-11, 11-7, 11-8.
Sub-junior boys (final): Devesh Karia (PSPB Academy) bt Tuhin Sinha (Ben) 11-7, 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6.
Junior girls (final): Moushmi Pal (Centre of Excellence, Kolkata) bt S. Sangeetha (TN) 8-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9.
Sub-junior girls (final): Sukanya Bose (Ben) bt Shikha Sharma (Del) 13-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-3.
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