Harmeet Desai was initially flummoxed by his opponent Manush Shah’s game.

An aggressive player on both flanks, Manav, struggling with stomach issues the previous night and with movements restricted, played an unusual game employing more spin and trying to slow down the game and attack occasionally.

However, Harmeet got hold of Manush’s tactics just on time to clinch his second straight zonal title with a 4-3 (11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5) win over his Gujarat’s mate in the men’s final of the UTT-National ranking Central Zone table tennis tournament here on Thursday.

Diya Chitale’s game is a viewer’s delight. The 18-year-old doesn’t defend and largely attacks irrespective of any situation. Playing against an equally attacking paddler in Reeth Risyha, Diya outhit her senior opponent 4-3 (7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10, 7-11, 12-11, 11-8) in an engaging women’s final to bag her maiden women’s title of the season, after two previous semifinal appearances.

Explaining the strategy he used, Harmeet said: “He (Manush) played a different game, blocking a lot which was not his usual game. But after the first two sets, I opened him up and that worked.”

Diya was excited. “It is a great confidence booster to end the ranking season on a high,” she said.

Ankur Bhattacharjee of Bengal and Suhana Saini (Haryana) bagged the u-19 men’s and women’s titles.

The u-17 events will end on Friday that will mark the conclusion of the National-ranking tournaments for the season.

The results:

Men: Final: Harmeet Desai (PSPB) bt Manush Shah (Guj) 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5; Semifinals: Manush bt Ronit Bhanja (AAI) 11-9, 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 12-10; Harmeet bt FRS Snehit (TS) 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8.

Women: Final: Diya Chitale (Mah) bt Reeth Rishya (PSPB) 7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10, 7-11, 12-11, 11-8; Semifinals: Diya bt Sreeja Akula (RBI) 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-3, 11-4; Reeth bt Lakshita Narang (Del) 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-3.

Youth Boys u-19: Final: Ankur Bhattacharjee (Ben) bt R. Deepit Patil (Mah) 11-5, 3-11, 11-5, 12-10, 4-11, 11-9.

Youth Girls u-19: Final: Suhana Saini (Har) bt Nithyashree Mani (TTTA) 11-5, 18-16, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7.

Source: The Hindu