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Telangana men, TN women share team titles

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 13 (UNI) Telangana’s men surprised Tamil Nadu with a 3-2 verdict while Tamil Nadu’s women did not let the chance slip by as they beat Telangana 3-1 in the finals of the UTT National Ranking (South Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the Jimmy George Indoor Stadium here today.
The men final lingered on for nearly three hours with all but one tie going the full distance when Mohammed Ali put an end to the ordeal with a 3-1 win over Nikhil Suresh of Tamil Nadu. The intense final for supremacy in the south zone was obvious when Tamil Nadu began well with Nitin Thiruvengadam giving a solid start only to lose the advantage when SFR Snehit levelled the score for Telangana.
In the next, Ananth Devarajan beat Aman Balgu but it was left to Snehit and Ali to snatch the last two ties to seal their rivals fate.
In women’s final, the inevitable was a bit delayed by Telangana’s Varuni Jaiswal and, to some extent, by Monica Manohar, their third player, before Tamil Nadu overcame that phase to lift the women team title with a 3-1 verdict. Selenadeepthi Selvakumar was the star player for Tamil Nadu as she won both her singles, leaving no doubt for anybody about their domination, at least in the final.
Varuni did well to beat Yashin Sivashankar in straight games to level the score. And Monica fought well to lead 2-1 in her singles against Deepika but the Tamil Nadu girl was up to her task to win 3-2, leaving Selena to do the finishing job.
With team championships for the South limited to six teams in each section, the top two teams Tamil Nadu and Karnataka (men) and Telangana and Tamil Nadu (women) were directly seeded into the semi-finals, ensuring the bronze medals for their teams.
But, contrary to expectations, Telangana’s men upset Karnataka with a 3-1 verdict to storm into the final. In the other semi-final, it was business as usual for Tamil Nadu who downed Kerala—the hosts had blanked out Pondicherry 3-0 in the quarters—3-1 to enter the final.
For Kerala, in their semifinal, Soham Bhattacharya did not begin as well as he was expected to against experienced Nitin but Senthil Kumar fared well against Ananth Devarajan to upset him and level the score. But that win proved to be a flash in the pan as Nikhil Suresh and Nitin finished it off in style to leave the hosts with the bronze medal along with Karnataka, who could not up to the game against SFR Snehit, Mohammed Ali and Aman Balgu.
But Karnataka women had made Tamil Nadu bleed, taking their semifinal clash to the decider. After Kushi Viswanath was the standout player with her excellent fightbacks in both her opening tie as well as in the decider. Selena and Yashini were made to hop as Kushi played brilliantly to take Karnataka to the edge of the final. But she lost both her matches 2-3, first to Selena and then to Yashini.
Tamil Nadu girls were sitting pretty with a 2-0 lead before Yashaswini Ghorpade provided the spark with a win over Shanmathi. Then Maria Rony cashed in on the situation with a win over Selena, whom she beat 3-2. But in the decider Yashini, despite her struggle throughout, won the fifth game on extended points to deny Karnataka a final entry.
In the other semifinal, Telangana easily beat Andhra Pradesh 3-1 to earn a final meeting with Tamil Nadu.
Earlier, the championships were inaugurated by state governor Justice (Retd) P. Sathasivam.
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