Soumyadeep, Mouma emerge champions

INDORE, SEPT. 2. His rise has been sharp over the year. With an increasing appetite, the 19-year old Soumyadeep Roy annexed another title and during the course, a significant milestone exemplified his prominence.

The victory for the PSCB Academy trainee in the 30th inter- institutional table tennis championship made him the top paddler in the country at the Abhay Prashal Stadium here on Friday.

Fourth-seeded Soumyadeep, who only dropped two games during his entire campaign, stopped Subhajit Saha's progress with a 21-15, 21-16, 18-21, 21-17 verdict. It was his second successive title after the South Zone ranking tournament in Vijayawada last week.

There was little threat for Soumyadeep with the absence of Chetan Baboor and S. Raman as the duo skipped the event in order to prepare for the Sydney Olympics. This helped him vastly as his tally of 300 points enabled him surpass Raman by 60 points, as per the mid-term classification.

Another teenager Mouma Das enhanced her reputation as the diminutive lass from PSCB defeated her colleague N.R. Indu. The sixteen-year-old reigning National champion won 22-20, 17-21, 21- 18, 17-21, 22-20 in 65 minutes. The win appended her aggregate to 330 points to sustain her stay at the top. Indu, who trails by 70 points, is placed second.

With an ability to drive fluently on both the flanks, Soumyadeep was severe on anything loose. The Siliguri-based Subhajit, who thrives on successive topspins, was restricted as his rival created openings with ease.

After bagging the first game in nine minutes, Soumyadeep executed some potent strokes to break away from 12-12 in the following game. Applying immense power, he smacked winners especially from the forehand flank.

Though, Subhajit reduced the deficit with his third ball attack from 18-17 in the third game, Soumyadeep overcame an erratic spell thereafter, to cap off a fine outing.

If Soumyadeep was in advantageous position throughout the final, the victor on the distaff side was decided on extra points in the decider. In a battle of attrition, 23-year-old Indu saved three match points before Mouma pulled it off.

Indu negated Mouma's heavy chops with her drives and managed to keep rallies short by placing them nicely in the first two games. Though, Indu persisted with her attacks, her inconsistency in the latter part of the match led to her downfall as Mouma prevailed in her ploy.

After squandering five game points from 15-20 in the opener, Indu responded with a flurry of winners to equalise in 23 minutes. Levelled at 15-15, Mouma gained from Indu's unforced errors and a fortunate net-chord enabled her to surge ahead for a 2-1 lead.

Indu's aggressive display enabled her to restore parity once again. Her composure allowed her to stage a comeback in the decider before her missed drives saw Mouma through.

In the morning session, Saha extended his fine run with a pulsating 3-2 win over second-ranked Arup Basak.

In the women's section, Mouma avenged her team championship loss to Anindita Chakravorthy as her tactic of deep chops followed by flat smashes succeeded, while, N.R. Indu got past Poulomi Ghatak, who has qualified as the lone women player for the Sydney Olympics.

The results:

Men's singles: Final: Soumyadeep Roy (PSCBA) bt Subhajit Saha (PSCB) 21-15, 21-16, 18-21, 21-17. Semifinals: Soumyadeep bt Shivaji Dutta (Rly)

21-18, 21-10, 14-21, 24-22; Subhajit bt Arup Basak (PSCB) 11-21, 21-19, 21-19, 9-21, 22-20.

Women's singles: Final: Mouma Das (PSCB) bt N.R. Indu (PSCB) 22- 20, 17-21, 21-18, 17-21, 22-20. Semifinals: Mouma bt Anindita Chakravorthy (Rly) 21-14, 21-19, 23-25, 21-18; Indu bt Poulomi Ghatak (PSCB) 21-16, 9-21, 21-18, 21-15.

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