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Four Indian paddlers breeze into the quarters

Pune, Oct 15 (UNI) Olympian Neha Aggarwal and Soumi Mondal moved into the quarter-finals with thumping wins and later the Indian boys too followed them in their respective singles matches of the table tennis competition at the Commonwealth Youth Games here today.

Neha showed her superiority as she overcame Seychelles' Anniessa Benstrong in straight games 4-0 (11-4, 12-10, 11-2, 11-3), while Kolkata girl Soumi beat her Canadian rival Emmanuelle Lavoie in an another one-sided affair 4-0 (11-4, 11-1, 11-3, 11-6).

With this win, Neha has moved a step closer to the gold medal for which she was being regarded as the front runner ever since the competition got underway.

Neha's clever thinking were evenly matched by her skillful game, while her rival was more inclined to wait for Indian to make mistakes.

The Indian adopted a very aggressive approach from the word go and did not have any problem to take the first game 11-4. However, Benstrong made a spirited comeback but the Neha was good enough to thwart it as well.

Benstrong failed to outthink her Indian counterpart as Neha trapped her rival at one corner and then very smartly placed the ball on the other leaving Benstrong stranded on one side of the table.

After that, the Benstrong ran out of steam but the Neha hardly put a foot wrong and just ran away with the match to secure a place in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Soumi's good run in the competition continued as she downed Lavoie with much ease and never for a moment did she falter at any point.

Neha and Soumi are also leading the Indian challenge in the doubles and with their current form, the two are expected to take the pole position in that event as well.

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran had an uphill task but the Indian came good to beat his English rival Liam Benjamin Pitchford 4-2 in a marathon six-game match (11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 3-11, 11-4, 11-7).

Two games up, Sathiyan encountered a strong ressistance from his Engish counterpart who level the scores by winning the third and fourth game.

The Indian, however, clawed back into the match and did not let his opponent to take any more advantage as he won two successive games to end a 36-minute long battle and moved into the quarter-final stage.

Soumyajit Ghosh then followed Sathiyan, and joined him in the last eight stage with an impressive 4-1 (11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6) win over Canada's Ling Kun Yang.


Story first published: Wednesday, October 15, 2008, 14:39 [IST]
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