While Sankar Muthusamy Subramanian comfortably defeated Thailand’s Nachakorn Pusri to enter the men’s singles quarterfinal at the ongoing BWF World Junior Championships in Santander, Spain, Unnati Hooda’s campaign came to an end after she lost to Japan’s Hina Akechi in the women’s singles event on Thursday.
Sankar led from the start to finish in the process of defeating his Thai opponent 21-10, 21-12 in a match that lasted 34 minutes. The men’s singles fourth seed is the last Indian in action at this edition of the Junior Worlds.
He will next face Hu Zhe An of China, which could well be his biggest test of the tournament yet. A win in the quarterfinals across categories will ensure a place on the podium.
Against Pusri on Thursday, Sankar – who missed the mixed team event last week – was in imperious form from the word go. The left-handed Indian showed impressive court coverage, and all-round game to never let go of the advantage.
There was disappointment elsewhere though. In a match that lasted 1 hour 2 minutes, 15-year-old Hooda fought back from a game down to force the decider but ultimately, fell just short of the finish line against Hina Akechi of Japan in three games, 17-21, 21-12, 21-18
Hooda, who won a senior title earlier this year at the Odisha Open Super 100, fought back in the opening game from 4-11 down and even took the lead at 16-14. But the left-handed Akechi won the next seven out of eight points.
Hooda was in control of the second game and seemed to have the momentum. But as the match went on, struggled physically, especially in longer rallies where the Japanese shuttler had the upper hand. The decider was still a close affair and the Indian youngster kept fighting back but it wasn’t to be.