Reeth Rishya turns the tables on defending champion Sutirtha Mukherjee.

With the prospect of defeat looming large, Manika Batra just about managed to find a new gear. Thereafter, she simply raced away with the last two games against Archana Kamath on the way to the semifinals of the National table tennis championship at Panchkula on Wednesday.

In a contest, seen as the ‘final-before-the-final’, Archana dropped the first two games narrowly, claimed the next three, but lost her way from midway through the sixth. The final result read 13-11, 11-9, 4-11, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4 in Manika’s favour.

Manika plays fourth seed Sreeja Akula on Thursday while Takeme Sarkar and Reeth Rishya, seeded 11th and 15th , will feature in the other semifinal.

On a day when three rounds were scheduled, the pre-quarterfinals saw Reeth turn the tables on defending champion and second seed Sutirtha Mukherjee in dramatic manner. Down 1-3 in the best-of-seven-game encounter, Reeth bounced right back to win 6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6.

Sutirtha’s exit followed the ouster of three-time finalist Krittwika Sinha Roy. Runner-up to Archana and Sutirtha in two preceding editions, Krittwika failed to match Takeme Sarkar who posted an impressive 11-6, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 13-11 victory.

In a dramatic morning session, reigning Commonwealth title-holder and third seed Ayhika Mukherjee, two former National champions Madhurika Patkar and Ankita Das, along with rising talent S. Selenadeepthi, made second-round exits.

Pooja knocked out Ayhika 13-11, 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 12-14, 11-5, Kaushani took out Ankita 12-10,12-10, 11-3, 3-11, 11-4, Poymantee Baisya packed off Madhurika 11-7, 11-5, 13-11, 3-11, 2-11, 6-11, 13-11 and Varuni Jaiswal surprised Selenadeepthi 11-6, 13-11, 11-8, 6-11, 8-11, 11-5.

The results (quarterfinals):

Women: Manika Batra (Pet) bt Archana Kamath (Kar) 13-11, 11-9, 4-11, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4; Sreeja Akula (RBI) bt Prapti Sen (Ben ‘A’) 7-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7; Takeme Sarkar bt Pooja Sahasrabudhe (Pet) 11-8, 9-11, 1-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9; Reeth Rishya (Pet) bt Kaushani Nath (Rlys) 11-2, 6-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9.

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