Soumyajit, Manika win TT titles in Brazil

Santos (Brazil), Aug 11 (IANS) India secured both the U-21 men's and women's singles titles at the GAC Group ITTF World Tour Brazil Open here.

After Manika Batra accounted for the host nation's Caroline Kumahara 11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-5 to take the women's crown in the final Saturday, Soumyajit Ghosh defeated Benjamin Brossier of France 8-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-2 to win the men's title. The two also pocketed $1,500 each for their wins.

"I had played Caroline earlier this year and won the team event in the Slovak Republic. I started the match confidently and tried to play slowly as she is a strong attacking player," said Manika.

The Delhi girl varied her speed and used backspin to dictate terms throughout the final. Unable to cope with her opponent's tricks, Caroline succumbed to the disappointment of the hosts.

Earlier, Manika prevailed over compatriot Suthirtha Mukherjee 11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10 in a tense match.

Ghosh, who beat teammate G. Sathiyan in the semifinals 11-4, 11-7, 14-12, 9-11, 11-9, knew Brossier was a hard nut to crack. Though Ghosh was up to the task, the Brazilian was time and again breathing down his neck in the final which saw fortunes fluctuating.

The Indian, however, had the measure of his rival taking a 4-0 lead in the decider. Ghosh stayed closer to the table to finish the job in style. Brossier was equally vehement in playing the attacking game but Ghosh emerged a notch better than the French.

What turned the corner at this juncture was the time-out taken by the French which worked to Ghosh's advantage as he just allowed a couple of points before completing an Indian double.

"I was able to win those crucial points which made the difference in the sixth game. After that I was very confident of winning the match," said Ghosh, the reigning national champion.

Meanwhile, Sagarika Ghosh won the Cadet girls singles title while Birdie Boro had to be satisfied with the silver in the Cadet boys singles at the Guatemala Junior and Cadet Open Table Tennis championships.

Sagarika, the winner of South Asian Junior title recently, beat Sreeja 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 to take gold in the final while Boro lost 9-11, 8-11, 5-11 to Cuban Livan Martinez in the final. Earlier Boro beat teammate Anirban Ghosh 3-0 to enter the final.


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