Divya's last-ditch efforts of no avail as Sagarika enters semifinals

Vijayawada : Fourth-seed Divya Deshpande bowed out of the National Ranking (South Zone) Table Tennis Championships after going down 3-4 to an enterprising Sagarika Mukherjee of Railways at the DRM Municipal Indoor Hall here on Tuesday.

Divya was the second seeded player on the day to exit from the tournament after Pooja Sahasrabudhe was sent off by Reeth Risya in the afternoon.

Sixth-seed Archana Kamath beat Reeth 4-1, while Mousumi Paul downed a spirited Sreeja Akula 4-2.

Earlier, Sutirtha Mukherjee had disposed of Andhra's Shailu Noorbash 4-0, taking as minimum time as possible in what was a one-sided quarterfinal.

Divya was in real trouble at 1-3 but, mustering courage and putting her experience to use, nicely pulled herself to level the score. This was in spite of Sagarika sending down hard and fast forehands to leave Divya in a sort of discomfort.

In the decider, both missed two match points before Sagarika converted the third one to move up.

For Archana, it was as easy as she would have anticipated against Reeth while Shailu didn't have the game to topple the second seed Haryana girl, who rode on her fast forehands and excellent blocks.

Following the exit of four women seeds on Monday, including top-seed Manika Batra, third-seeded Arjun Ghosh was felled by Birdie Boro of Assam 10-12, 13-15, 11-5, 11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7 in a third-round men singles battle which lasted nearly 50 minutes, to start the men seeds exodus.

He was followed by fourth seed Raj Mondal of RBI when Nikhil Sureh of Tamil Nadu downed him 11-9, 12-10, 11-8, 7-11, 11-4 and then another Tamil Nadu boy, Ananth Devarajan outlasted sixth-seed Sanil Shetty 16-14, 16-18, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7. They all bowed out in the third round.