Gritty Challengers win

Badminton KBL:Flypower Warriors edge out favourites Aratt Fighters

eagle eye Team Cane Boutique’s Mohit Kamat during his match against HB Challengers’ Rishiket Yeligar at the KBA courts on Sunday. Kamat won 21-7, 21-15. DH PHOTO

A little later, Aratt Fighters, who beat K2 Smashers 4-1 on Saturday, squandered 2-0 advantage to go down to Flypower Warriors 2-3. Team Cane couldn’t capitalise on the advantage given to them by Mohit Kamat and Mahima Agarwal. Mohit proved his credentials as one of the top players in the State with a 21-7, 21-15 thumping of Rishiket Yeligar in a match that lasted just 30 minutes. Team Cane moved closer to pocketing the tie when Mahima outplayed Arsheen Syeda Saadath 21-14, 21-16 in the women’s singles encounter.

Challengers then took the first step of their stunning comeback, wining the mixed doubles. Sanjeeth and Sangeetha M defeated Sobin Soman and Harshita 23-21, 21-16, reducing the margin 2-1. Further drama was in store as Phalgun B S helped Challengers to level the tie, beating Goutham Bhat 21-17, 21-19 in the second men’s singles.

In the crucial men’s doubles, Challengers’ Guruprasad and Abhijeet got the better of Vineeth M and Sunil G 21-19, 21-14 signalling the end of marathon tie that lasted for two hours and 50 minutes.

Earlier, Mohit cruised in the first game, moving 5-0 ahead before stretching the lead 20-7 against Yeligar. Mohit took the first game when his opponent, who did all the running for that point returned long. Yeligar was expected to put a much better show in the second game. He surely did until the score read 4-6, but then he commited too many unforced errors to trail 4-11 at the break.

Couple of smashes interlaced with drop shots helped Mohit to reach within two points of victory. Though, Mohit allowed Yeligar to reduce the margin to 19-15, the former State champion was in total control of the proceedings. Mohit brought himself a match-point when his rival hit a forehand wide before the 24-year-old wrapped up the match with a powerful smash.

In the Aratt Fighters-Flypower Warriors tie, Rohan Castelino, who beat Rameshwar Mahapatra 20-22, 21-7, 21-11, and Jacqueline Rose Kunnath, who eased past Apeksha Nayak 21-13, 21-11, powered Fighters to 2-0 lead. But Ashwini Ponnappa and Prajesh Soman, who had a troubled knee, lost to SDS Krishna and Ashwathi 14-21, 20-22 in the mixed doubles as Warriors staged a fightback. Rajas Jawalkar overcame Kamaldeep Singh 19-21, 21-15, 21-13 to equal the scores 2-2. In the deciding men’s doubles match, Darshan and Dhruv paired up to outclass Naveen and Neville 21-6, 21-12.

Results: HB Challengers bt Team Cane Boutique 3-2 (Rishiket Yeligar lt to Mohit Kamat bt 7-21, 15-21; Arsheen Syeda Saadath lt to Mahima Agarwal14-21, 16-21; Sanjeeth/ Sangeetha M bt Sobin Soman/ Harshita 23-21, 21-16; Phalgun B S bt Goutham Bhat 21-17, 21-19; Guruprasad/ Abhijeet bt Vineeth M/ Sunil G 21-19, 21-14).

Flypower Warriors bt Aratt Fighters 3-2 (Rameshwar Mahapatra lt to Rohan Castelino 22-20, 7-21, 11-21; Apeksha Nayak lt to Jacqueline Rose Kunnath 13-21, 11-21; SDS Krishna/ Aswathi S bt Prajesh Soman/ Ashwini Ponnappa 21-14, 22-20; Rajas Jawalkar bt Kamaldeep Singh 19-21, 21-15, 21-13; Darshan/ Dhruv bt Naveen/ Neville 21-6, 21-12).

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