Thursday, 6 September, 2007

Manasi stuns top seed down under

B D Narayankar

Instead of watching a wretched Ram Gopal Varma’s Aag, it would have been better to have witnessed an exciting finale between Manasi Munj and Devika Bhide in the cadet girls’ district-ranking table tennis tournament at Sharada Centre here on Saturday.

The Devika-Manasi final was the most thrilling match of the tournament till date. It was so intriguing that second seed Manasi came back from 0-2 down to stun top seed Devika 9-11, 8-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-9 to claim the cadet girl’s title in grand style.

Manasi began her campaign by losing first two games 9-11, 8-11. Capitalising on Manasi’s diffidence, Devika throttled her opponent by her intelligent shot selections, breaking her rhythm. These losses made Manasi a determined player as she knew she had not lost them by a huge margin.

Manasi fought her way back confidently in the third game, hardly compromising on her attacking shots, forcing Devika to scurry for some vital points. The evenly-poised game kept both spectators and players at tenterhooks till the last minute. Manasi, in a phoenix-like performance, prevailed over Devika by winning 14-12.

Making full use of the virtual come back, Manasi scripted next two wins, playing with gusto.

In other matches, Shubhankar Renavikar, Nitish Sapre, Shubhankar Ranade and Aniket Gulwani thrashed Neeraj Sane, Nitish Purandare, Swanand Limaye and Rushikesh Kukarni respectively, and raced into semi-finals.

RESULTS: Cadet girls’ final: Manasi Munj bt Devika Bhide 9-11, 8-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-9; Cadet boys’ quarter-final: Shubhankar Renavikar bt Neeraj Sane 9-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6, 11-3; Nitish Sapre bt Nitish Purandare 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10; Shubhankar Ranade bt Swanand Limaye 11-7, 11-9, 11-7, 13-11; Aniket Gulwani bt Rushikesh Kukarni 11-6, 11-5, 11-8, 11-6

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