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  Sr Natl TT: Sharath-Manika duo wins mixed doubles crown
CUTTACK,08 Jan 2019 (Team Orisports)

Petroleum Sports Promotion Board’s second-seeded duo of Achanta Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra defeated top-seeded pair of Manav Thakkar and Archana Girish Kamath 3-1 (11-9, 12-10, 10-12, 11-6) to win the mixed doubles gold in the 80th Senior National Table Tennis Championship at the JN Nehru Indoor Stadium here today.

Sharath, who is playing in three events after a long time, won the second title to add to the team events crown that PSPB won two days ago.  The last time he competed and won all four titles was way back during the Siliguri Nationals in 2008. Incidentally, it was Harmeet Desai and Pooja Sahasrabudhe who had won the mixed doubles for PSPB at Hyderabad three years ago.

Ever since mixed doubles has become a part of the Olympics, Sharath has ventured into it and along with Manika Batra, also tasted success when the pair won the first Asian Games bronze medal at Jakarta last year.

Having set the tone on Sunday in the team final, Sharath shepherded Manika Batra, guiding her all through, in the final against Manav and Archana. Establishing an early lead, they stamped their authority and went 1-0 up, winning most points on service.

In the second, however, they left some leeway for the top-seeds to stage a comeback but Sharath and Manika soon caught up with them to win it on extended points. Nevertheless, their opponents did well to challenge their supremacy and led 0-5 before Sharath and Manika levelled and went 6-5, 9-7 up. But Archana and Manav clawed their way back and neutralized and at deuce they seized the first opportunity to take the game 12-10.

In the fourth, Manav and Archana pulled back yet again to make it 3-3 and 6-6 when Sharath and Manika almost ran away with the title but their enthusiasm was nipped then and there as the experienced duo sealed the other PSPB pair’s fate to take five points on the trot and the match.
PHOTO: Senior National mixed doubles champions Achanta Sarath Kamal and Manika Batra in action at Cuttack.



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