Teenager Sudhanshu Grover defeated compatriot Abhishek Yadav 4-3 to emerge as the junior boys singles champion while Suthirtha Mukherjee beat Manika Batra 4-2 in an all-Indian final of the junior girls category at the South Asian Junior TT Championships, in New Delhi on Monday.
In the cadet sections, Anirban Ghosh and Sagarika Mukherjee won their maiden international titles which made it a perfect 10 for India at the championships.
The doubles titles, in the junior boys category, went to Abhishek and Sudhanshu, while Manika Batra and Suthirtha Mukherjee combined to claim the girls’ crown. In both finals, their opponents were Sri Lankans.
Sri Lanka, who along with India qualified for the Asian Junior championships to be held in Doha, finished the table as the second best team with reasonably good performances coming up from their paddlers.
Sudhanshu had to pull all tricks to beat Abhishek who was not the one to give up easily. The see-saw final had its ups and downs with each of the players keeping their interest alive.
But in the end Sudhanshu kept his lead intact in the seventh game, before Abhishek made it seven-all. However, Sudhanshu stopped his opponent on his tracks and took four straight points to win the match and the crown.
“It was a pulsating final and Abhishek was strong on his forehand. I had to counter that and that was my problem initially. But was lucky on some points and they made my day,” said Sudhanshu on his maiden international title.
“Last year Abhishek had beaten me and I had to give it back this year,” he added.
Suthirtha took the first two games rather easily, but Manika, who is ranked 27th in the world, staged a fine comeback to win the next two to bring some balance into the final.
But Suthirtha, without playing into Manika’s game plan of push and prod, attacked winning vital points, particularly in the fifth game. Once she took the upper hand, the sixth game became a formality for the West Bengal girl.
“I was into attacking mode in the third and fourth games. But Monika blocked well to keep her in the match. I changed my plan in the fifth even though she (Manika) was breathing down my neck. The moment I took 3-2 lead, I knew what my game plan should be. It (attack) paid me rich dividends,” Suthirtha, who is ranked 35th in the world, said.
Junior Boys Singles: Final: Sudhanshu Grover (Ind) bt Abhishek Yadav (Ind) 4-3 (11-9, 9-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7).
Doubles: Final: Abhishek Yadav/Sudhanshu Grover (Ind) bt Vimukthi Wijesiri/Liyanahe Kahawaththa (SL) 3-0 (11-6, 11-9, 11-6).
Junior Girls Singles: Final: Suthirtha Mukherjee (Ind) bt Manika Batra (Ind) 4-2 (11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 12-14, 11-9, 11-6).
Doubles: Final: Manika Batra/Suthirtha Mukherjee (Ind) bt Tharakie De Silva/Bandara Rajaguru (SL) 3-1 (11-5, 9-11, 11-3, 13-11).
Cadet Boys Singles: Final: Anirban Ghosh (Ind) bt Birdie Boro (Ind) 3-1 (11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8).
Cadet Girls Singles: Final: Sagarika Mukherjee (Ind) bt R. Harshavardhini (Ind) 3-0 (12-10, 11-6, 11-7).