Jalandhar, April 27: Neeraj Taneja of Punjab managed to take his first-round match in the singles of the 40+ category for men but lost out to a determined Anu Singh Pruthi of Delhi 2-3 in the UTT 29th National Masters Table Tennis Championships at the PAP Indoor Stadium today.
Munish Sharma, also from Punjab, played brilliantly but may not go beyond and secure a spot in the main draw when he went down 2-3 to Manuraj Jain of Delhi.
Neeraj had a distinct advantage when he went 2-0 up but could not consolidate his position to take just another game, as he lost the next three games. Credit must go to the Delhi paddler, who fought back well to level the score and, in the decider, clinched the two crucial points after the deuce.
Munish Sharma began nicely and took the first game on his third game point, but lost the next against Manuraj. The Punjab paddler again gained control in the third and went 2-1 ahead of his Delhi rival. After winning the fourth game 14-12 on his third game point levelling the score, Manuraj confidently finished the decider in his second-round group match.
Amit Gupta of Jammu and Kashmir struggled after Vijay Pancholi of TTFI-2 stretched him the distance. Yet, Gupta did well to come back strong and beat Vijay 3-2 in the first round. The match between Vivek Mahajan of TTFI-2 and Hemant Dagar of Delhi was a see-saw battle as the two kept winning the alternate game to take the issue to the crucial fifth game. And in the fifth, the J-K man prevailed to advance.
Among the first-round matches in the 50+ section for women, Sivapriya Murugan Naik had to put up a vigorous fight against Krishna Sen from Bengal. Though Sivapriya had a 2-0 cushion, after winning the second game on her sixth game point, she looked simply out of place when Krishna Sen opened to hit back and level the score. The Maharashtra paddler, however, prevailed in the decider to win the first battle by minimal points. Other winners of matches in the category went through the motions to stamp out their authority.
Men’s Singles 40+: Round 1 & 2: Anant Kulkarni (Mah) bt Manohar Bisht (Del) 11-4, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8, Sachin Kumar (UP) bt Vishal Joshi (MP) 5-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6, Anu Singh Pruthi (Del) bt Neeraj Taneja (Pun) 9-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 12-10, Amit Gupta (JK) bt Vijay Pancholi (TTFI 2) 13-11, 6-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, Vivek Mahajan (TTFI 2) bt Hemant Dagar (Del) 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, Atanu Chatterjee (Jhar) bt Pranesh Kulkarni (Mah) 6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, Avinash KJ (Kar) bt Anil Baloni (Del) 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 3-11, 12-10, Sudhir Kesarwani (RBI) bt Anu Singh Pruthi (Del) 11-7, 11-13, 3-11, 11-4, 11-8, Gurucharan Singh Gill (Mah) bt Vishal Joshi (MP) 10-12, 11-6, 8-11, 11-3, 11-2, Manuraj Jain (Del) bt Munish Sharma (Pun) 12-14, 11-9, 8-11, 14-12, 11-7.
Men’s Singles 50+: Round 1: Suptendu Biswas (Del) bt Sanjeev K Aggarwal (RBI) 7-11, 9-11, 11-2, 12-10, 13-11, Suyash K Chaturvedi (IA&AD) bt Giriraj Baagree (CG) 6-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-3, Dileep Sen (UP) bt Sanjeev Luthra (Del) 3-11, 8-11, 11-1, 11-7, 11-7, KS Subbakrishna (Har) bt Jaswinder Singh (Del) 11-3, 5-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7.