The youngster dethrones Harmeet and stuns Sushmit in successive rounds

There is something about the Tau Devi Lal Indoor Stadium at Panchkula that brings out the best in the S.F.R. Snehit.

The last time this reigning National youth champion played here in the 2018 North Zone-ranking event, he took out Sharath Kamal on this way to the final.

On Monday, a fitter-and-stronger Snehit renewed his romance with this venue by knocking out third seeded defending champion Harmeet Desai and sixth seed Sushmit Sriram to gate-crash into the semifinals of the National table tennis championship.

Favourites in semifinals

Even as Snehit, 20, was enjoying his best day in the Nationals, more illustrious names like Sharath Kamal, G. Sathiyan and Manav Thakkar took their allotted spots in the semifinals. Interestingly, all semifinalists won 4-1.

Sharath and Sathiyan — Snehit’s mentors — stayed on course of their much-anticipated final clash at the expense of two former National champions, A. Amalraj and Sanil Shetty.

The scoreline for Sharath could have read a lot differently had Amalraj not missed converting a game-point in the fourth game for a 2-2 deadlock.

But once Sharath led 3-1, a frustrated and fast-tiring Amalraj committed far too many errors to trail 1-7 in the fifth game and never tested his senior rival.

Sathiyan carried on with his form by winning all three matches with an identical 4-1 scoreline.

The results: Quarterfinals: A. Sharath Kamal (Pet) bt A. Amalraj (TTFI) 11-8, 11-3, 5-11, 13-11, 11-2; Manav Thakkar (Pet) bt Ronit Bhanja (Ben ‘A’) 11-7, 12-10, 10-12, 12-10, 11-6 ; S.F.R.Snehit (TS) bt Sushmit Sriram (TTFI) 8-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-8, 11-3; G. Sathiyan (Pet) bt Sanil Shetty (Pet) 11-9, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8, 11-6.

Important pre-quarterfinal results: Sharath bt Sougata Sarkar (LIC) 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5; Amalraj bt Soumyajit Ghosh (Har) 9-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5; Bhanja bt Sudhanshu Grover (Del) 13-11, 7-11, 6-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 15-13; Manav Thakkar bt T. Nitin (TN) 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-5.

Snehit bt Harmeet Desai (Pet) 11-9, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5; Sathiyan bt Manush Shah (Guj) 11-8, 12-14, 11-9, 11-8, 13-11.

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