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Regulars suffer opening group-stage hiccups

Indore, Jun 19 (UNI) Manushree Patil, former sub-junior national champion from Maharashtra, struggled to hold her place during the group stages of the women singles in the 11Even Sports National Ranking (Central Zone) Table Tennis Championships at Abhay Prashad Indoor Stadium here today.
After going down 1-3 to West Bengal’s Priyadharshini Das in her first round outing, she struggled to post a 3-2 win
over Rajasthan’s Nikita Rautela in the second round.

She, however, should have to put it across against Rittika Kundu of North Bengal in the third round later this evening to seal the second spot from group 24 to get into the main draw.

The Maharashtra girl, trying to get her feet in, could not match the guile of the West Bengal girl and surrendered meekly without much of a fight.

However, in the second round against one thought she would play authoritatively but her opponent from Rajasthan had different ideas and, despite dropping her first game, came back nicely to lead 2-1.

Though Manushree won the third game to bring the score level, it was a touch-and-go affair in the fourth as Nikita deuced to give a scare to Manushree, who won 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, much to her relief.
If it was the case of juniors struggling in the senior section, even those regulars in the latter section found the going tough on the opening day as Chipia Frenaz of Gujarat, Sweta Parte and Pallabi Kundu of RBi, who despite being placed atop their groups because of their rankings.
Shika Jacob of Kerala defeated Chipia in the first round 3-2, Pallabi struggled past Trisha Gogoi of Assam 3-2 in the second round and Sweta found the opening a little too hot against Andhra Pradesh’s Shailu Noorbasha before winning 3-2 in her first round.
The worst case scenario was Ashlesha Trehan’s performance. Given a pride of place in group 27 as leader, she lost both her matches to Kushi Viswanath of Karnataka and Seraha Jacob of Kerala with an identical margin of 2-3. Sanhya Sehgal of Haryana had a win-loss opening to her campaign in the group stages as she lost her first round to Krittika Malik of Delhi 0-3 and won 3-2 against Kaushani Nath of West Bengal.
But for these minor hiccups, most other group leaders went through their motions to seal their place with comfortable wins in the first two rounds.

All 31 groups are awaiting the second winners to join the eight seeded women players who will open their account tomorrow when the main draw begins.
Similarly, those who are part of the top groups in men singles registered two wins each to more or less book their main draw places while in latter groups the struggle for group leaders continued. Ravindra Kotiyan had a mixed bag winning one round and losing the second.

The tall and lanky Railways’ player was pathetic to begin with as he went down to LIC’s Ravi Joshi 2-3.

He, however, recovered gathered himself from the shock to win against Haryana’s Gurang Shakreja 3-2. But the win was not a free-flowing as Ravindra is known for his easy, stroke-making.

No doubt, he will get into the main draw for sure, but the highly potential Ravi, struggling throughout last season, is yet to pick himself up before the he meets the sharks, including the top 16 seeds with whom he may have to resume his battle tomorrow.