Surat (Gujarat) [India], September 24 ANI): National Games 2022 on Saturday witnessed major upsets as Harmeet Desai of Gujarat and Sutirtha Mukherjee of West Bengal defeated top seeds Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra to advance to the men's and women's singles table tennis finals respectively.
Harmeet Desai beat Sathiyan Gnanasekaran in the men's singles while Sutirtha Mukherjee got the better of Manika Batra in the women's singles.
Harmeet Desai defeated G Sathiyan 4-2 (11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9). Harmeet rode on the vociferous support of the home crowd to start the semi-final clash against world No. 37 Sathiyan by taking an 8-0 lead in the opening game and never looked back thereafter.
By the time Sathiyan found his footing, the local hero was up 2-0. The top seed did manage to catch up with the last edition's silver medallist by winning the next two sets but that hardly dented Harmeet's confidence.
The 29-year-old from Surat tightened his defence, stuck to his game plan and closed out the semi-final on the third match point in the sixth game to stay on course for his second gold medal from the Games. Harmeet had led Gujarat to the men's team gold earlier this week.
The chances of an all-Gujarat men's singles summit clash were dashed, however, when Haryana's Soumyajit Ghosh came back from a set down to beat Manush Shah 4-1 in the other semi-final.
In the women's singles semi-final, Sutirtha Mukherjee was equally dominating against Manika Batra in the first match of the day, beating her 4-2 (11-6, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6).
She countered Manika Batra's backhand threat by effectively slowing down the rallies to take the first two games. Manika threatened to make a comeback after she saved a game point before winning the third.
The two players shared the next two games but Sutirtha took control of the sixth by opening up a 5-1 lead and then wrapped up the semi-final on the first match point.
Sutirtha, who has already won the team gold with West Bengal and has also reached the women's doubles final, will face second seed and national champion Sreeja Akula, in the gold medal match after the latter beat Diya Chitale 4-1.
However, Sreeja Akula, who won the mixed doubles gold at Commonwealth Games 2022, ended up with the silver medal in the mixed doubles.
Sreeja and partner FR Snehit lost 3-0 (11-8, 11-5, 11-6) to home pair Manush Shah and Krittwika Sinha Roy, who earned a standing ovation from the packed stadium.
Both the bronze medals went to West Bengal.
Table tennis events have begun before the formal start of National Games on September 27. (ANI)