TT nationals: Sharath, Madhurika win singles titles

Manesar (Haryana), Feb 5 (IANS) Madhurika Patkar won the women’s singles crown for the first time, while veteran A. Sharath Kamal bagged his seventh national crown in the 78th 11Even Sports Table Tennis Senior National Championships here on Sunday.

Sharath beat an equally weary Soumyajit Ghosh 4-2 and Madhurika downed six-time national champion Poulomi Ghatak 4-0 at the Manesar Sports Club.

The confidence Sharath gained in the semi-final victory against fifth-seed Harmeet Desai had done a world of good as he went into the final against the two-time champion Ghosh, who had gone past second seed G. sathiyan 4-1 in the last four battle.

Sharath made a good beginning but Ghosh came back to take the next. The pattern continued until the fourth, but in the fifth, Sharath accelerated and increased the lead with considerable pace.

And in the sixth Ghosh lost steam and Sharath made it more difficult for the six-seed with a sizeable lead which he maintained throughout as the top seed was expected to do.

“It was very satisfying,” said Sharath after the win. “I was very confident but feeling really tired. I knew Ghosh too sailing in the same boat, having played the doubles. Luckily, it helped me a bit. Manesar has proved to be my happy hunting ground,” said Sharath, who won the crown in Manesar 13 years ago.

Top-seed Madhurika lived up to her position in the women’s singles. Playing the final with all concentration and intensity, she kept Poulimi on a tight leash and it reflected in the first three games.

However, as she approached the final moments, a few offer of high balls almost put her down but two good points in between took her at the doorstep of maiden win. Her joy knew no bounds when Poulomi’s feeble return hit the net.

In the women semi-finals, Poulomi disposed of sixth seed Pooja Sahasrabuddhe 4-0, while Madhurika stopped defending champion Manika Batra 4-2.