Assam upsets eight-seed UP in TT Nationals
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Jammu: Unseeded Assam upset the applecart of Uttar Pradesh with a 3-2 win in a first-round match of Group H at the 84th Inter-State National Table Tennis Championships here on Monday.

The eight-seeded UP team, a quarterfinalist in the last edition in Meghalaya, failed to live up to expectations.

UP had three experienced players in their ranks, led by Abhishek Yadav, Divyansh Srivastava and Sarth Mishra, who could have done justice to their selection and made a bright beginning to the campaign here.

However, Shankab Barua did the star turn for Assam, winning both his singles, especially after trailing 1-2 against Divyansh and single-handedly plotting the downfall of UP.

It was a positive beginning for Abhishek Yadav when he accounted for Agniv Bhaskar Gohain 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 in less than 25 minutes. But Shankab Barua held his nerves after losing the third game (11-13) to win the next two and put Assam 2-0 up.

Promising youngster Priyanuj Bhattacharyya should have wrapped it up when he led 2-1 in the fourth game. But he lost two tie points while Sarth Mishra converted his third game point to reduce the margin.

With UP leading 2-1, nobody would have given a grain of a chance to Assam. But, surprisingly, Shankab turned the tables on the experienced Abhishek as the UP left-hander found himself at the receiving end when the Assam lad beat him 12-10, 11-6, 11-9 to restore parity and take the issue to the decider.

Agniv played sensibly and did not fall into the trap of Divyansh, who has grown in stature. But the Assam paddler, making most of some negative points, beat Divyans 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9 in what were close calls in all three games he won.

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UP can still qualify from the group as the second team.

But other seeded teams went through the motions in their group matches, almost ensuring their pre-quarterfinal berths.

However, a clear picture of the second qualifier from each group will emerge after the third/fourth round matches on Tuesday.

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