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Aman Balgu stuns Pathik Mehta

Amitabha Das Sharma

SILIGURI: Aman Balgu hogged the limelight in the men’s singles second round of the National table tennis championship at the Municipal Indoor Stadium here on Thursday. The 18-year-old Maharashtra ‘A’ player ousted the fifth seeded Pathik Mehta of Gujarat.

Balgu, who graduated to the youth stage, caught everyone’s attention with his attacking game. Among his admirers was the country’s new national coach, Aleksey Yefremov, who said the player was “remarkably quick.”

Working on sharp forehand returns, Balgu placed his shots on both flanks to break Mehta’s defence. “I knew I could beat him (Mehta), but I never thought it is going to happen so soon,” said Balgu. Balgu began with a blitz and won the first game. Mehta came back briefly winning the second game as Balgu tried to increase the attack and made some errors. But the Maharashtra player came back into the winning mould from the third game. “The second game was bit of a disappointment. But once I started getting my shots right I was sure of winning the match,” said Balgu after ensuring a 4-1 result.

Balgu’s effort was the only exception in the general progress of the seeded players in both the men’s and women’s sections. Ranabir Das of West Bengal caused another flutter beating country’s ninth ranked player Subham Choudhury of Petroleum.

Das, ranked 21 in the country, won his match in straight games. Top seeded Subhajit Saha, second seeded Soumyadeep Roy and third seeded A. Sharath Kamal, who beat former champion Arup Basak of West Bengal, kept Petroleum’s flag flying high with relatively easy wins in the men’s section. Important results:

Men’s (second round): Subhajit Saha (PSPB) bt Eric Fernandes (Mah A) 11-9, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6; Aman Balgu (Mah A) bt Pathik Mehta (Guj) 11-6, 11-13, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8; A. Amal Raj (RSPB) bt R.S. Raja (TN) 11-6, 11-6, 11-7, 11-4; Sourav Chakraborty (RSPB) bt A. Rajat Kamal (TN) 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 12-10, 11-9; Raj Mondal (N. Ben) bt Omkar Torgalkar (RSPB) 13-11, 11-4, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4; Ranabir Das (WB) bt Subham Choudhury (PSPB) 11-6, 14-12, 11-8, 11-8; A. Sharath Kamal (PSPB) bt Arup Basak (WB) 11-3, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9; Anirban Nandy (RSPB) bt Anal Kashyap (Asm) 12-10, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6; Zubin Kumar (PSPB) bt Soumyajit Ghosh (N. Ben) 11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 11-6, 13-11; Soumyadeep Roy (PSPB) bt Sivananda Seshadri (TN).

Women’s (second round): Mouma Das (PSPB) bt Arul Selvi (BSB) 11-6, 11-5, 11-6, 10-12, 11-13, 11-5; Anindita Chakraborty (RSPB) bt Ashlesha Bodas (Mah A) 4-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-3, 11-5; Susmita Ray (WB) bt Nandiata Saha (N. Ben) 11-9, 11-6, 11-13, 11-7, 11-9; Ankita Das (N. Ben) bt A.V. Nivedata (TN) 11-5, 7-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-7; Mantu Ghosh (PSPB) bt Papori Bora (Asm) 11-4, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9; K. Shamini (PSPB) bt Runa Roy (Mah B) 11-7, 12-10, 3-11, 3-11, 11-6, 11-9; Mamta Prabhu (BSB) bt T. Pradeepa (PSPB) 11-5, 11-4, 11-9, 11-8; Poulami Ghatak (PSPB) bt K.K. Narmada (TN) 11-8, 11-5, 11-4, 11-6; Kasturi Chakraborty (N. Ben) bt Rajni Gupta (Pun) 11-5, 11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 11-4; Neha Agarwal (PSPB) bt Janhavi Deshpande (Mah B) 11-5, 11-7, 11-8, 11-4.

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