Neha gives India perfect start; boys win their opening matches

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Pune, Oct 13 (UNI) High on confidence, Neha Aggarwal gave India a perfect start, overwhelming Barbara Pepa of Tonga 3-0, while in the boys' section, Soumyajit Ghosh and Sathiyan Gnansekaran registered convincing victories in their opening matches of the first round of the table tennis competition at the Commonwealth Youth Games here today.

Neha hardly faced any challenge as she outsmarted her rival 3-0 (11-3, 11-2, 11-3), while Soumyajit beat Sri Lankan Sahanka Ganegodage 3-1 (11-3, 6-11, 11-1, 11-6) in the opening Group 6 match and in Group 11, Sathiyan thrashed Morea Jackson Kariko of Papua New Guinea 3-0 (11-5, 11-6, 11-4).

Soumi Mondal, in Group 2, also tasted success as she dumped Amina Namaganda of Uganda 3-0 (11-1, 11-8, 11-1) to further extend India's domination on the opening day of the Table Tennis competition.

An inform Neha proved too good for Barbara who was clueless and the first few points were enough to indicate which way the match was heading.

The top seeded Neha looked in supreme command against her unfancied rival and the Indian's aggressive approch had become a tough challenge for Barbara to handle.

Neha played intelligently as she locked her rival at one corner and then suddenly placed the ball on the another for which Barbara had no answer. The Indian's returns were spot on and while Barbara looked lacklustured when Neha was serving.

Eventually, an unfancied Barbara had to surrender tamely to her more skilfull counterpart who is being touted as a bright gold medal prospect for India.

In the first match of the day for the Indian boys, Soumyajit also assured that he does not spoil the start that Neha had started and with some great moves he brushed asided his Lankan counterpart 3-0.

The sixth seeded Siliguri lad announced ghis arrival with a formidable win in the opening game but was caught wrong footed when in the second game Sahanka battled his way into the match and took the game 11-6.

''Yes, I did lose the second game but that had more to do with my own mistakes. I was sure fronm the very beginning of the match that I will win it,'' Soumyajit said after his match and also assured that he will bag a medal for his country and would not settle for anything less than a gold.

However, the loss in the second game could not deter Soumyajit's confidence and the highest seeded Indian pulled up his game and was running away with the match in the next two games. The Indian was leading the third game 9-0 and it was because of his own mistake that he gave away the only point that his rival got in that game.

Sathiyan made sure that the good run does not stop and the lean looking boy was just unstopable. While the India did exhibit his great skills in the match, his rival was equally responsible for his undoing as he missed out on some easy opportunities and a good number of double faults as well.

All the four Indians will again come back later in the day to play the second match of the respective groups to decide who will advance to the second round. Out of four players in each group, only two will make it to the next stage.

UNI RAR AB BD1545

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