Gujarat’s Harmeet Desai and Bengal’s Sutirtha Mukherjee stunned top seeds G Sathiyan and Manika Batra respectively to reach the men’s and women’s singles table tennis finals in the 36th National Games here on Saturday.
Harmeet upset Sathiyan 4-2 while Sutirtha got the better of Manika by an identical margin
In men’s final Harmeet Desai will clash with Haryana’s Soumyajit Ghosh while Sutirtha will take on Telangana's Sreeja Akula in the Women’s gold medal match
Later in the session, Manush Shah and Krittwika Sinha Roy clinched the mixed doubles gold for Gujarat, earning a standing ovation from the packed stadium.
Harmeet started the semi-final clash against World No. 37 Sathiyan by taking an 8-0 lead in the opening set and never looked back thereafter.
By the time Sathiyan found his footing, the local hero was up two sets to nil. The top seed did manage to catch up with the last edition silver medallist by winning the next two sets but that hardly created a dent in Harmeet’s confidence.
The 29-year-old from Surat tightened his defence, stuck to his game plan and closed out the semifinal on the third match point in the sixth set to stay on course for his second gold medal from these Games. He had led Gujarat to the men’s team gold earlier this week.
The chances of an all-Gujarat men’s singles summit clash were dashed however when Haryana’s Soumyajit Ghosh came back from a set down to beat Manush Shah 4-1 in the other semifinal.
In the women’s singles semifinal, Sutirtha was equally dominating against Manika in the first match of the day.
She countered Manika’s backhand threat by effectively slowing down the rallies to take the first two sets. Manika threatened to make a comeback after she saved a set point before winning the third.
The two players shared the next two sets but Sutirtha took control of the sixth by opening up a 5-1 lead then wrapped up the semifinal on the first match point.
Sutirtha, who has already won the team gold and has also reached the women’s doubles final, will face second seed and national champion Sreeja Akula in the gold medal match. The Telangana paddler had little trouble in beating Diya Chitale of Maharashtra 4-1.
Meanwhile, Gujarat picked up their first individual gold medal of the 36th National Games after Shah and Krittwika Sinha Roy registered a straight-sets win over Telangana’s Sreeja and FR Snehit in the mixed doubles final.
The Gujarat pair were hardly tested in the gold medal encounter, winning 11-8, 11-5, 11-6.
Both the bronze medals went to West Bengal.
Men’s singles (SF): Harmeet Desai (Guj) bt G Sathiyan (TN) 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9; Soumyajit Ghosh (Har) bt Manush Shah (Guj) 8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5, 11-9
Women’s singles (SF): Sutirtha Mukherjee (WB) bt Manika Batra (Del) 11-6, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6; Sreeja Akula (Tel) bt Diya Chitale (Mah) 11-2, 11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 11-5
Mixed Doubles (F): Manush Shah/Krittwika Sinha Roy (Guj) bt FR Snehit/Sreeja Akula (Tel) 11-8, 11-5, 11-6