Top seed P Gayatri Gopichand of Telangana began her campaign in the All-India Junior Ranking Badminton tournament in style with a facile 21-15, 21-15 victory over Delhi’s Khushi Thakkar in Chennai on Thursday.
The 16-year-old showed deft touch and plenty of confidence as she overcame the challenge of Thakkar, who made it to the main draw of the Under-19 girls singles by getting a bye and winning her next two rounds.
The second seed Aakarshi Kashyap of Airports Authority of India and the Under-19 Boys Singles top seed Priyanshu Rajawat of Madhya Pradesh, however, pulled out of the competition, opening up the field for the lower seeds.
In the boys’ category, Manipur’s Maisnam Meiraba (No. 2) and Andhra Pradesh’s Sai Charan Koya (No. 3) will now be the favourites.
Most of the top seeds, meanwhile, registered comprehensive victories to enter the second round of the main draw.
Third seed Malvika Bansod of AAI and No 7 Smit Toshniwal (Maharashtra) beat Ananya Praveen (Karnataka) 21-9, 21-8 and Siddhi Jadhav (Maharashtra) 21-11, 21-12 respectively.
Aditi Bhatt of Uttarakhand beat Sreshta Reddy K 21-8, 21-15 while Nivetha M of Tamil Nadu defeated Akanksha Matte 21-9, 21-14.