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Prachi Jha Avenges Team Defeat, Ayhika Mukherjee Causes First Round Sensation
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Prachi Jha who avenged team reverse  Photo By: Rémy Gros

12/14/2012        Volkswagen 2012 World Junior Table Tennis Championships (Click here to access this section)

Defeat in the Girls’ Team event, a costly defeat but in the opening round of the Girls’ Singles event at the Volkswagen World Junior Championships in the city of Hyderabad on Friday 14th December 2012, it was revenge for Prachi Jha from the United States of America.

She beat Germany’s Theresa Kraft in a full distance seven games duel (14-12, 5-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6) to book her place in the second round of proceedings.

It was revenge for the American but it was tinged with an air of regret.

Tean Result
At the quarter-final stage of the Girls’ Team event earlier in the week, Prachi Jha had suffered defeat at the hands of Theresa Kraft, similarly in a full distance duel (13-11, 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 11-5); the added pain was that the defeat was when the overall score in the contest was level at two matches apiece.

The reverse cost the United States a medal.

Similarly Close
A close contest had been enacted in the Girls’ Team event, it was the same in the Junior Girls’ Singles with a deciding game being required; in the team event Theresa Kraft had dominated matters in the decider.

In the singles it was the reverse scenario.

Seventh Game
Prachi Jha established a 4-3 lead; understandably Eva Jeler, the German coach sitting courtside called “Time Out”.

The girls returned to the coaches for advice; the mentor for Prachi Jha being the always smiling Lily Yip who by her natures invokes calm on her charges.

Break Worked but Not for Germany
Certainly the break worked but it did not work for Germany; Prachi Jha surrendered just two more points to secure the game.

“I didn’t really change anything after the Time Out”, said Prachi Jha. “I just tried to keep a clear mind and play my game.”

Sporting contests are won and lost in the mind, it would seem that was the situation with regards to Prachi Jha.

An Even Bigger Upset
The win recorded by Prachi Jha was an upset; the American is named at no.197 on the Under 18 Girls’ World Rankings, Theresa Kraft is over one hundred places higher at no.53.

An upset but there was an even bigger upset to follow some ten minutes later.

Listed at no.192 on the Under 18 Girls’ World Rankings, the host nation’s Ayhika Mukherjee recovered from a three games to one deficit to beat Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, a player who stands currently at no.13 on the global list and is the eighth seed in Hyderabad.

Nervous Moments
Ayhika Mukherjee succeeded in seven games (11-8, 11-13, 8-11, 5-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8) but she kept her supporters on the very edges of their seats.

She led 10-5 before eventually succeeding at her fourth attempt.

“I was becoming so tense”, admitted Ayhika Mukherjee. “I was really nervous.”

Lily Yip, the calming influence Photo by Rémy Gros

Further Indian Success
Success for Ayhika Mukherjee and there was also success for Manika Batra and Sutirtha Mukherjee; same surname but the latter is no relation to Ayhika but is likewise from Kolkata, and Manika Batra.

Sutirtha Mukherjee beat Poland’s Sandra Wabik (11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8); whilst Manika Batra overcame Germany’s Anja Schuh (11-9, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7)

Top Seven Win
Defeat for the eighth seed in the opening round of the Girls’ Singles event but for the seven higher listed players there were no great problems with the top four, all from China setting the standard.

Zhu Yuling, the top seed, accounted for Angharad Phillips of Wales (11-5, 11-2, 11-4, 11-5); whilst Gu Yuting, the no.2 seed, ended the hopes of Australia’s Anna Du (11-4, 11-7, 11-3, 11-3).

Meanwhile, Liu Gaoyang, the no.3 seed, overcame Venezuela’s Gremlis Arvelo (11-7, 11-7, 11-3, 11-9) and Gu Ruochen, the no.4 seed, ended the hopes of India’s Spoorthy Karnam (11-3, 11-5, 12-10, 11-1).

Impressive Wins
Similarly, the next three in the pecking all enjoyed success in style.

Romania’s Bernadette Szocs overcame Rianne Van Duin of the Netherlands (11-9, 11-5, 11-6, 11-4), Germany’s Petrissa Soljia accounted for Russia’s Ekaterina Guseva (11-6, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5) and Japan’s Ayuka Tanioka defeated Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yu-Wen (11-5, 11-4, 11-4, 11-3).

The moment of victory for Ayhika Mukherjee Photo by Rémy Gros

Video Interviews
Download video interview with Prachi Jha and Ayhika Mukherjee



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