What made Nath's maiden win special was the way he fought from the brink to snatch the crown from PSPB Academy's Manav Thakkar.
Nath won 4-3 in one of the finest finals in recent years. Equally the maiden title for Archana, who beat Maharashtra A's Shruti Amrute 4-0, was sweeter as she became the first girl in 13 years to win the sub-junior crown. The last win for a Karnataka girl came at Calicut in 1999.
Thakkar was just a point away from championship at 10-6 in the decider, but Nath saved four straight match-points to level the score and then win at 12-10.
That changed the complexion of the match as from here, the North Bengal boy gained ascendancy while Thakkar went into despair, losing the last three games and the title. Indeed, both put on display some excellent rallies and treated the capacity crowd with a fine table tennis feast.
Archana, on the other hand, kept her excellent momentum that she picked from the pre-quarterfinals, where she ousted No. 1 seed Moumita Dutta. Continuing her great form, the Karnataka girl made a remarkable comeback in the semifinals.
Down 1-3, the Karnataka girl trapped opponent Mansi Chhajed in her own defensive game. Archana was gaining in confidence, playing some astonishing forehand winners, while the Maharashtra girl was losing her poise.
In the decider, Archana was leading 7-1 and from there allowed Mansi come closer. A couple of service return errors saw Archana losing grip but the girl from the south shut her opponent out when Mansi sent the ball out.
Archana had earlier accounted for No. 1 seed Moumita Dutta in the pre-quarterfinals yesterday. From there it was a real fairytale accomplishment for Archana. From the bottom half, Maharashtra's Shruti Amrute overcame a determined Saundrya Pathak from UP 4-3 to enter the final.
The UP girl, after being down 0-3, made a valiant attempt only to finish on the losing side at 2-4.
In the semifinal between Snehit and Akash Nath, the former started off well before the West Bengal boy upped the ante to lead 2-1.
But the Andhra boy, who had helped his team win the CBSE title, was up to the task and took the stretched fourth game 12-10. However, Akash decided to stop Snehit then and there to enter the final with a 4-2 verdict. Earlier, Manav Thakkar beat another Andhra boy Hari Krishan 4-1.
Sub-Junior Boys: Final: Akash Nath (NB) bt Manav Thakkar (PSPBA) 4-3 (9-11, 4-11, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5, 11-9); Semifinals: Manav Thakkar bt Hari Krishna VS 4-1 (12-10, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7), Akash Nath bt Snehit SFR 4-2 (10-12, 11-6, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4).
Doubles: Final: Manav Thakkar/Anukram Jain (PSPBA) bt Jeeth Chandra/Akash Choudhary (WB) 3-1 (11-7, 10-12, 11-5, 11-8).
Sub-Junior Girls: Final: Archana Kamath (KNT) bt Shruti Amrute (Mah A) 4-0 (11-5, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5); Semifinals: Archana Kamath bt Mansi Chhajed 4-3 (10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-8, 11-7), Shruti Amrute bt Saundrya Pathak 4-2 (12-10, 11-4, 11-4, 4-11, 9-11, 11-8).
Doubles: Final: Yashini S/Selena Deepthi (TN) bt Naina/Shailo Noor Basha (AP) 3-0 (11-4, 11-9, 12-10).
Cadet Boys: Final: Rounak Majumdar (WB) bt Snehasish Paul (WB) 4-2 (7-11, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10, 12-10); Semifinals: Snehasish Paul bt Rohan Ghosh 3-0 (11-9, 11-5, 11-9), Rounak Majumdar bt Kabir Chaudhary 3-0 (11-4, 11-6, 12-10).
Cadet Girls: Final: Swastika Ghosh (Mah A) bt Vanshika Bhargava (Del) 4-0 (11-7, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9); Semifinals: Swastika Ghosh bt Ayushi Ghia 3-1 (10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 13-11), Vanshika Bhargava bt Tanisi Kirani 3-1 (11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9).
--IBNS (Posted on 30-12-2013)