Mumbai, Jan 9 (IANS): Mumbai-girl Diya Chitale, who recently tasted her maiden success in the senior circuit, has moved to the joint-top position in the women's singles ranking as per the Table Tennis Federation of India's (TTFI) list released on Sunday. She shares first place with fellow Mumbai player Reeth Rishya of PSPB and Sreeja Akula of RBI.
The 18-year-old The Suburban Table Tennis Association (TSTTA), Mumbai paddler, Diya had earlier this week clinched the women's singles crown in the UTT National Ranking (Central Zone) Table Tennis Championships in Indore and with the 90 points collected from that effort, accumulated a tally of 225 points -- the same as runner-up Reeth (60 points) and losing semi-finalist Sreeja (45 points).
Before the start of the Central Zone event, Diya was in joint fifth position, but she exhibited solid determination and resilience which enabled her to sideline the top two seeds en route to emerging champion that ensured her way to the top.
In the semi-finals, Diya after trailing 1-3 showed great character and recovered splendidly to overcome India's number one ranked paddler and top-seeded Sreeja by snatching a tense 4-3 (8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-3, and 11-4) victory.
In the final, Diya having gained in confidence prevailed over Indian No. 2 and second-seeded Reeth by pulling off a close 4-3 win in the best-of-7-game match, of fluctuating fortunes. The battled-hardened Diya came through winning 7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10, 7-11, 12-11, and 11-8.
In men's singles, Gujarat's Harmeet Desai remained the top -ranked player with 240 points after he gained 90 points for winning the title in the Central Zone championships. Mumbai's former national champion Sanil Shetty (210) and Manaav Thakkar (195), both representing Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) were second and third respectively with Manush Shah of Gujarat at fourth position with 165 points. Four-time Olympian Achanta Sharath Kamal is ranked fifth with 150 points.