Ayhika wins second ITTF title in two weeks

New Delhi: Ayhika Mukherjee, the winner of the Slovak Open last week, collected her second successive ITTF Junior Circuit girls singles title when she defeated Germany?s Alena Lemmer at the Polish Junior and Cadet Open played in Wladyslawowo, Poland.

The Indian beat the sixth seed 10-12, 12-10, 11-4, 6-11, 11-9, 16-14 on Thursday night.

The 16-year-old who was seeded 10 here emerged as a surprise winner in an event that was littered with upsets. Though Ayhika did not cause major upsets during the tournament, the Kolkatan did benefit from those who had caused the surprises.

Going through a purple patch after her Slovak Open performance, Ayhika did not start as she would have wanted. Yet, the teenager came back nicely to take the next two games more authoritatively. Playing an attacking game right from the beginning, Ayhika was at her best with forehands but was not lagging in her backhands as well.

Playing a percentage game, Ayhika was in a cruise mode until in the fourth game where she made a string of disappointing errors which only helped the Germans cause. Lemmer pounded her opponent with some clever high toss services and scorching shots to the backhand of Ayhika to rattle the Indian.

Nevertheless, the Indian seized the opportunities in the next and surged ahead with calculative attacks and defence. It paid rich dividends for Ayhika, who won the game with minimum points and fuss. However, in the sixth game, which turned out to be a neck and neck race Ayhika emerged victorious in the extended game 16-14 after saving a couple of match points.

Earlier, Ayhika had overcome Nicole Trosman, the No. 9 seed, 11-8 11-4 11-8 11-5 in the third round and then accounted for Chinese Taipei?s Lin Po-Hsuan, the No. 15 seed, in the quarterfinals 11-9 11-8 11-6 12-10.

In the semifinals, the Indian ousted Pauline Chasselin of France 11-7, 22-24, 11-6, 11-9 11-6. The French, seeded 16, just about managed to win second extended game that was worth two games at a stretch.

However, both Ayhika and Priyadarshini Das failed to cross the semifinal stage in the doubles, going down to Karolina Mynarova and Krystina Stefcova from the Czech Republic. The Indian pair lost 11-9, 5-11, 10-12, 11-5, 9-11).

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