Displaying tremendous confidence and playing with a high-level of consistency Pritha Vartikar of Pune continued with her impressive winning performances and easily thumped Samrudhi Kulkarni of Solapur in four straight games in the junior girls’ singles final of the Dr Ramesh Prabhoo Memorial 82nd Maharashtra State Table Tennis tournament on Thursday.
The annual tourney was organized by The Suburban District Table Tennis Association and played at the Prabodhankar Thackeray Krida Sankul, Vile Parle in Mumbai.
The 14-year-old Pritha, who had earlier clinched the sub-junior girls’ singles crown on Wednesday, quashed the aspirations of left-handed Samrudhi by smoothly coasting to a 11-5, 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 win and to complete a grand double. This is the first time Pritha has won two titles in a state-level tournament.
The Pune girl, who is the reigning national sub-junior champion, played with controlled aggression and with quick top-spin drives on either flank she went on to rattle her Solapur opponent, who was unable to put up much of an opposition before caving in rather meekly.
Earlier, in a closely contested semi-final encounter, Pritha had to work hard to overcome the spirited fight from home favourite Sampada Bhiwandkar (TSTTA) before snatching a deserving 5-11, 11-6, 11-5, 10-12, 11-4, 14-16 and 11-8 success to advance to the title round.
On another table, Samrudhi sidelined another Mumbai girl Vidhi Shah winning their semi-final clash in straight games. The bespectacled Vidhi tried her best to put up a fight, but she was unable to match the superior all-round play of the Solapur girl, who controlled play from the start to dictate terms throughout the contest. Samrudhi served well and was quick to go for her shot to finish off the rallies as she strolled to a straight-game 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 and 11-3 win.
Junior girls’ singles (Quarter-finals): Samrudhi Kulkarni (SOL) bt Shravani Sawant (THN) 11-6, 9-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-7, 13-11; Vidhi Shah (TSTTA) bt Sayali Wani (NSK) 11-5, 7-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8; Sampada Bhiwandkar (TSTTA) bt Kheya Shah (TSTTA) 11-5, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7; Pritha Vartikar (PNA) bt Taneesha Kotecha (NSK) 11-7, 14-12, 14-12, 12-10.
Semi-finals: Samrudhi Kulkarni (SOL) bt Vidhi Shah (TSTTA) 11-5, 11-7, 11-9, 11-3; Pritha Vartikar (PNA) bt Sampada Bhiwandkar (TSTTA) 5-11, 11-6, 11-5, 10-12, 11-4, 14-16, 11-8.
Final: Pritha Vartikar (PNA) bt Samrudhi Kulkarni (SOL) 11-5, 11-6, 11-7, 11-5.