Sameera, Utkarsh out in youth national table tennis

Indore, Feb 9 (IANS) Sameera Kumar of Tamil Nadu and Utkarsh Gupta of Delhi fell by the way in the pre-quarterfinals of the Youth Boys sections of the 74th Junior and Youth National Table Tennis Championships at the Abhay Prashal Indoor Stadium here Saturday.

In the youth girls section, fifth and eighth seeds Ayhika Mukerjee and T. Reeth Rishya, respectively, succumbed in the pre-quarterfinals.

Both unseeded Karnam Spoorthy of Andhra Pradesh and S. Narasimha Priya of Tamil Nadu entered the quarterfinals with an identical 4-1 verdict.

West Bengal's Anirban Ghosh accounted for Sameera Kumar in straight sets, while another West Bengal lad, Arnab Adhikari, defeated Utkarsh Gupta 4-2 in a battle that lasted nearly one hour, to enter the quarterfinals.

But for these upsets, all other seeds sailed into the last eight stage without a sweat.

Diminutive Anirban, who has been the nemesis of many a top player in recent times, showed yet again why he is the player to be taken serious note of. With his open-minded game plan, he had unsettled even the biggest names on the circuit.

And there was no difference today as Sameera Kumar found himself at the receiving end and facing the heat from the 14-year-old year, who excelled in his close and away-from-the-table game. His backhand strokes too brooked little challenge as one could see from the drooping shoulders of the tall Tamil Nadu boy.

Utkarsh did put up a great fight but Arnab Adhikar was a shade better on the day, winning the crucial points. In fact, this was what actually separated the two in the ultimate analysis as the Utkarsh failed miserably at the easy points. Earlier, he defeated Sammay Paranjape 3-2 in a gruelling second-round fight that went to the wire.

Earlier, unseeded Maria Roney caused the biggest upset in the Youth Girls singles when she beat seventh seed Mallika Bhandarkar of Maharashtra 3-2 to enter the pre-quarterfinals. The 15-year-old Kerala girl played a brilliant offensive game to unsettle the defensive Mallika in the second round 11-8, 6-11, 9-11, 11-1, 11-8.

Mariya earlier beat Andhra's A. Sreeja 3-2 in the first round of the main draw. Even after Mallika went 2-1 up, the Kerala girl did not give up her attacking mode which helped her in the final outcome of the match.

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