Top seed G Sathiyan was the highest ranked player standing between Gujarat’s hopes of bagging the top two spots in men’s singles after second seed A Sharath Kamal had to retire from his quarterfinal clash due to back pain.
In the women’s singles, three seeded players were sent packing in the pre-quarterfinal stage while top seed Manika Batra was given a run for her money by Karnataka’s Kushi V, scraping through to a 4-3 (4-11, 11-8, 12-10, 4-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7) win. The star paddler reached the semifinals later in the day.
Kushi knew that she had nothing to lose while playing against Batra and took the attack to her opponent. She counter punched whenever the top seed tried to increase the pace and used her backhand down the line drive to great effect.
Having lost the opening game, Batra took the next two to take the lead but Kushi did well to keep pace with the world No. 45 and took the match in the decider.
Batra took 5-1 lead at the change of ends in the 7th and final set but Kushi showed resilience and belief in her attack to level scores at 7-7. But a wrong shot selection allowed Batra to once again take the lead and the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist then wrapped up the match by forcing her opponent into making an error.
“I went into the match with a clear thought of not getting overawed by my opponent’s stature and play her like just any other opponent. I had a chance to win today but it’s disappointing that I could not find a way to win,” Kushi said.
Sharath bows out
Sharath was leading two sets to one and 6-1 in the fourth set against Haryana’s Soumyajit Ghosh when he called for medical attention and then decided to retire after a few minutes of treatment.
Sathiyan, on the other hand, quelled the challenge of local boy Manav Thakkar 4-1 in a fast-paced encounter. Though Thakkar kept pace with the top seeds’ style of play, he wasn’t able to crack his defence when it mattered the most and lost 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 14-12, 13-11.
Sathiyan will now face Harmeet Desai, who thrashed Deepit Patil 4-0.
The other Gujarat paddler to make it to the semi-finals was Manush Shah, who got the better of FR Snehit. The southpaw looked down and out in the opening two sets as he struggled for rhythm and accuracy. But once he regrouped, the strokes began to flow and he turned the tables on his opponent to win 4-2.
Earlier, Reethrishya Tennison was the only player among the top four seeds to miss out on the semi-final berth after she was knocked out by the experienced Sutirtha Mukherjee in the quarters.
Sutirtha, who represented India at the Tokyo Olympics, also avenged her loss to the fourth seeded Reeth in the team events by clinching the last eight round encounter 3-1.
It looked like third seed Diya Chitale may also join her state-mate on the sidelines as she was pushed to the brink by Haryana’s Suhana Saini. Both players engaged in many fast-paced rallies through-out their seven-set encounter in which no player ever managed a two-set lead at any stage.
In the other quarterfinals, top seed Batra and second seed Sreeja Akula registered relatively convincing wins over their respective opponents to book their semi-final berths.
Men’s singles (QF):
G. Sathiyan (TN) bt Manav Thakkar (Guj) 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 14-12, 13-11; Harmeet Desai (Guj) bt Deepit Patil (Mah) 11-3, 11-6, 11-2, 11-9; Manush Shah (Guj) bt Fidel Rafeedue Snehit Syravajjula (Tel) 3-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9; Soumyajit Ghosh (Har) bt Sharath Kamal (TN) 11-7, 12-10, 11-8, 6-1 (retd.)
Women’s singles (QF):
Manika Batra (Del) bt Krittwika Sinha Roy (Guj) 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4; Sutirtha Mukherjee (WB) bt Reethrishya Tennison (Mah) 11-9, 12-10, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9; Diya Chitale (Mah) bt Suhana Saini (Har) 11-5, 4-11,11-7, 3-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9; Akula Sreeja (Tel) bt Ayhika Mukherjee (WB) 11-4, 11-6, 11-5, 11-4
Men’s Doubles (QF):
Harmeet Desai/Manav Thakkar (Guj) bt Sudhanshu Grover/Payas Jain (Del) 11-8, 11-8, 11-5; Arjun Ghosh/Anirban Ghosh (WB) bt Soumyajit Ghosh/Jubin Kumar (Har) 11-7, 11-7, 11-1; Manush Shah/Ishaan Hingorani (Guj) bt Sarthak Gandhi/Wesley Do Roserio (Har) 12-10, 11-9, 11-8; Jeet Chandra/Ronit Bhanja (WB) bt Sanil Shetty/Ravindra Kotiyan (Mah) 11-7, 11-5, 11-4
Women’s Doubles (QF):
Diya Chitale/Swastika Ghosh (Mah) bt Krittwika Sinha Roy/Frenaz Chipia (Guj) 11-5, 5-11, 10-12, 7-11; Ayhika Mukherjee/Sutirtha Mukherjee (WB) bt N. Deepika/V.Kowshika (TN) 11-4, 12-10, 11-7; Shruti Amrute/Reethrishya Tennison (Mah) bt S. Yashini/C.R Harshavardhini (TN) 11-3, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6; Yashaswini Ghorpade/Khushi V.(Kar) bt Takeme Sarkar/Prapti Sen (WB) 13-11, 14-12, 11-5