Sourav Chakraborty losing a game was a blip in an otherwise slick show by the men and women of the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) on the first day of the 72nd senior national and inter-state table tennis championships here on Monday. And to think Achanta Sharath Kamal wasn't even around for the first two rounds.
Left-hander Chakraborty, runner-up to Sharath Kamal in the singles championship last year and winner of the North Zone, lost a game to Somnath Ghosh 8-11 but cruised through the next three 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 as top seeds PSPB blanked 14th seeds Andhra Pradesh 3-0. For the second tie against Orissa, PSPB replaced Subhajit Saha with Anthony Amalraj, who flew in from Slovakia earlier on Monday. The 24-year-old made good use of his experience against Saswat Samal.
Soumyadeep Roy, twice national champion and current India No. 1, too didn't look a cinch but said there was nothing unusual about that after a comfortable 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 win against Asif Haque of Orissa.
PSPB women shut out Chhatisgarh and Chandigarh by identical 3-0 margins. Seventh seeds Rajasthan shocked fifth seeds North Bengal while hosts West Bengal, the sixth seeds, eased past Chandigarh and Uttar Pradesh in the men's section. The women's team shut out Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra B.