Gopal triumphs over Lohapatre to claim men’s singles crown
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Gopal triumphs over Lohapatre to claim men’s singles crown

The Dr Pramod Mulay Memorial Pune district ranking table tennis championship 2018 was held at PYC Gymkhana on Friday.

pune Updated: Aug 25, 2018 16:10 IST
Pranav Shahaney
Pranav Shahaney
Hindustan Times, Pune
Table tennis,sport,Pune
It was the first tournament win and men’s championship title for Adarsh Gopal. (RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT)

Pune: Tenth seed Adarsh Gopal beat the unseeded Gaurav Lohapatre 11-7, 12-14, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6, 12-10 in the men’s singles final of the Dr Pramod Mulay Memorial Pune district ranking table tennis championship 2018 held at PYC Gymkhana on Friday.

The final was a spectacle many were looking forward to after Gopal and Lohapatre won their respective semis on Thursday. Thus, there were around a hundred people that came to the community hall on Friday evening to watch a spectacular contest among two of the most talented youngsters in the men’s circuit.

Gopal seized the initiative after the first few points of the first game and broke Lohapatre’s service twice in quick succession to claim a 7-5 lead. He then served out the two points to edge closer to winning the first game and did just that to force an error from his opponent to win the first game 11-7.

Gaurav Lohapatre at the Dr Pramod Mulay Memorial Pune district ranking table tennis championship on Friday. (RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT)

In the second game, Lohapatre looked to come back in the contest, but Gopal held his own and kept fighting until the very end. Being 10-8 down, the tenth seed won two points on his serve to send the second into a tie-break. However, Lohapatre’s defensive game proved to be the difference maker and he won the second 14-12.

The balance of the game swung once again in the third game, as Gopal mounted a comeback. He kept attacking his opponent’s serve and quickly put him on the back foot to once again take a lead in the match. Once again, he was pegged back as Lohapatre dominated the fourth game convincingly, winning seven of the first eight points en route to sealing the game 11-5.

With the match now at two games apiece, it was Gopal who held his nerve to win the following the two games en route to his first championship of the season. He survived a square midway through the sixth game, but a few unforced errors from Lohapatre saw the 16-year-old Gopal take control of the game to win it 12-10.

Eesha Joshi lived up to her top seed expectations as she triumphed over the seventh seed Prithika Sengupta. (RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT)

In the women’s final, Gopal’s mixed doubles partner Eesha Joshi lived up to her top seed expectations as she triumphed over the seventh seed Prithika Sengupta 11-9, 11-4, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9. Joshi never looked like losing this contest despite playing out a marathon seven-game thriller in the youth girls final only an hour before the game.

She started the match showing a few signs of fatigue as expected, but after edging the first game 11-9, she appeared to grab a hold of the match and played it on her own terms. In the second game, Sengupta was left searching for answers as her experienced opponent ran rings around her.

Prithika Sengupta at the Dr Pramod Mulay Memorial Pune district ranking table tennis championship on Friday. (RAVINDRA JOSHI/HT)

In the fourth game, Sengupta managed to avoid a straight games loss as she mounted a mini-comeback to win it 11-8, but she failed to carry that momentum into the fifth game and ended up losing it 9-11, eventually handing the title to her opponent.

Quotes

Gopal: “Winning the final was amazing because I never expected a victory here. It’s my first ever tournament win and winning the men’s championship is such a huge thing. I can’t even believe that I’ve won, to be honest. It’s been a long journey as since the five to six years I’ve been playing, I never won a championship title. What I’ve learned is that I should make use of my forehand more than I usually did as my backhand is slightly weak and now I feel I’m understanding how to do that.”

Joshi: “I won three titles here so it has been a very good tournament for me. More than physically, I think it was tiring mentally as with each passing round the quality of the opponents kept getting better so I had to maintain my focus. Winning this tournament was very important as now based on this performance the team for the state will be picked. We hope to be picked for the team and perform well at the championship.”

Joshi, Shinde win junior titles

Eesha Joshi and Shounak Shinde won the junior (under-21) singles titles of the Dr Pramod Mulay Memorial Pune district ranking table tennis championship 2018 held at PYC Gymkhana beating Pritha Vartikar and Gaurav Lohapatre respectively in the finals.

Joshi and Vartikar played out a marathon seven-game encounter and it seemed like the top-seeded Joshi would succumb to the third seed after going down 3-1, but she secured a dramatic comeback to win the next three games and the match by a 11-8, 6-11, 9-11, 6-11, 16-14, 11-6, 11-9 scoreline.

The boys’ final was the first of two games Lohapatre lost on the evening as before competing against Adarsh Gopal in the men’s singles final, he had to face the second seed Shinde in the junior final. After losing the first two games, Lohapatre won the following two to draw level, but Shinde ended up winning the remainder of the games en route to the title. The final score was 11-8, 11-6, 2-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8 in favour of Shinde.

First Published: Aug 25, 2018 15:58 IST