Six-time National champion Poulomi Ghatak's dream run continued after she saw off two match-points against K. Shamini for the women's singles title in the 40th inter-institutional table tennis championship at the Indoor Stadium here on Sunday.
Poulomi's fourth consecutive ranking title this year on the domestic circuit came following a 11-13, 11-5, 11-8, 13-15, 1-11, 15-13, 11-6 victory. Poulomi, who could not recall the number times she had won the title in this championship, claimed the North Zone and National titles earlier this year and added the season-opener South Zone last week at the expense of Shamini.
In the men's final that was delayed due to the late arrival of the chief guest, A. Sharath Kamal was not too harsh on the young talent Sanil Shetty, winning 11-7, 12-10, 13-11, 6-11, 11-4 for his fifth title in the championship.
For justifying their seedings, Sharath collected Rs. 61,000 and Poulomi, who earlier won the doubles title with Mouma Das, received Rs. 48,000. Shetty settled for Rs. 30,500 and Shamini, Rs. 24,000.
Sharath, who lived dangerously in the quarterfinals on Saturday night and scored a business-like victory over R. Abhishek on Sunday morning, was not required to draw from his reserves against Shetty.
Shetty had reasons to be proud of his performance this week since he humbled three seeds in succession.
As expected, unlike the men's final, the ladies title-match was closely fought. However, in terms of quality, the match could never rise beyond mediocrity due to the high percentage of unforced errors from both players.
Poulomi after slipping at the threshold of winning the first game, served admirably well in the second and third games to lead 2-1.
Thereafter, Shamini's returns improved and she went on to save four game-points in the fourth game to level the match.
In the fifth game, Shamini raced away to a 9-0 lead against an almost disinterested Poulomi and made it 3-2. When Shamini led 4-1 in the sixth, it appeared as the beginning of the end for Poulomi. But some deceptively casual-looking shots from Poulomi and a series of unforced errors from Shamini combined to turn the match around.
Eight straight points for Poulomi made it 9-4 and raised visions of a decider. What followed was another twist to the tale. Shamini won the next six points to force her first match point.
She squandered a second match-point at 11-10 before Poulomi seized the opportunity to level the score at 3-3. This narrow escape brought back Poulomi's self-belief and she raced away with the deciding game.
The other thrilling match of the day was witnessed in the semifinals where Shetty bounced back from 8-10 in the decider against second seed Soumyadeep Roy to win. A second defeat to Shetty in a week dashed Roy's hopes of winning two titles this month.
The results: Men: Final: A. Sharath Kamal (Pet) bt Sanil Shetty (AI) 11-7, 12-10, 13-11, 6-11, 11-4. Semifinals: Sharath bt R. Abhishek (AI) 11-4, 11-6, 11-5, 12-10; Shetty bt Soumyadeep Roy (Pet) 11-7, 5-11, 12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10.
Doubles: Final: A. Amalraj and Saurav Chakraborty (Pet) bt A. Sharath Kamal and Zubin Kumar (Pet) 11-7, 6-11, 11-4, 11-9.
Women: Final: Poulomi Ghatak (Pet) bt K. Shamini (Pet) 11-13, 11-5, 11-8, 13-15, 1-11, 15-13, 11-6; Semifinals: Poulomi bt Mamta Prabhu (DB) 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7, 11-8; Shamini bt Divya Deshpande (Pet) 11-2, 11-6, 11-1, 10-12, 11-5.
Doubles: Final: Poulomi Ghatak and Mouma Das (Pet) bt K. Shamini and Madhurika Patkar (Pet) 10-12, 11-8, 12-10, 11-13, 11-5.
Mixed doubles: Final: Saurav Chakraborty and Mouma Das (Pet) bt Soumyajit Ghosh and A.V. Niveditha (AAI) 10-12, 12-10, 11-6, 11-3.