Warriors stun Aratt in semis

Flypower team to face Challengers in final

Arsheen Syeda Saadath during her win over Mahima Agarwal. DH Photo

Having made the semifinals as the fourth and final team from the seven-team league phase, the Warriors cashed in brilliantly on table toppers Fighters’ doubles profligacy to set up what promises to be an exciting final clash against HB Challengers at the KBA courts.

HB Challengers, who have lost just one match so far, eased past Team Cane Boutique 3-1 in the other last-four contest to advance to Saturday’s finale.

Young shuttler Rajas Jawalkar set the ball rolling for the Warriors, scoring an impressive 21-13, 21-12 win over an erratic Kamaldeep Singh. Throughout the tournament, Jacqueline Rose Kunnath has been playing some wonderful badminton and the 18-year-old dished out another command show, flattening Sindhu Bharadwaj 21-11, 21-17 in quick time to extended her unbeaten streak to seven matches and bring the Fighters back to level 1-1.

Post Ashwini Ponappa’s departure, the Fighters have been found wanting in the doubles action and they failed to produce the goods once again. Ashwini’s replacement in the mixed doubles Apeksha Nayak, who looked completely out of sorts for the fourth match in a row, teamed up with Krishna SDS to suffer a crushing 13-21, 16-21 loss to Harshit Agarwal and Anusha GM as the Warriors stroked ahead 2-1.

However, former junior national champion Rohan Castelino toyed with a clueless Rameshwar Mahapatra, eking out an effortless 21-11, 21-10 win to push the contest into the decisive fifth rubber.

With just one defeat against their name, Warriors’s Darshan Kulkarni and Dhruv Shanbag stepped onto the court as favourites and the duo hardly broke a sweat against the combine of Govind MK and Naveen Ubhayakar. Just after Shanbag’s smash sealed the first game 21-9, Govind pulled out due a knee injury that flared up twice in the match.

Opening the day’s proceedings for the Challengers, after Cane Boutique’s men’s singles player Mohit Kamat sought permission to have his match shifted to the second tie as he had to receive a KOA award, Arsheen Syeda Saadath oozed confidence in a 21-10, 21-16 destruction of the left-handed Mahima Agarwal.

Kamat then evened the score 1-1 with a 21-17, 21-12 defeat of Suraj RN. The doubles pair of Sanjeeth S and Sangeetha Mari, however, put the Challengers 2-1 ahead after coasting past Vineeth Manuel and Harshita P 21-15, 21-12.

Phalgun BS then wrapped up things for the Challengers with a tie to spare, scoring a brilliant come-from-behind 16-21, 23-21, 21-15 win that had his entire team-mates erupt in joy.

Results: Flypower Warriors bt Aratt Fighters 3-2 (Rajas Jawalkar bt Kamaldeep Singh 21-13, 21-12; Sindhu Bharadwaj lt to Jacqueline Rose Kunnath 11-21, 17-21; Krishna SDS/ Apeksha Nayak bt Harshit Agarwal bt Harshit Aggarwal/ Anusha GM 21-13, 21-16; Rameshwar Mahapatra lt to Rohan Castelino 11-21, 10-21; Darshan Kulkarni/ Dhruv Shanbag bt Govind MK/ Naveen Ubhayakar 21-9 (retd)).

HB Challengers bt Team Cane Boutique 3-1 (Arsheen Syeda Saadath bt Mahima Agarwal 21-10, 21-16; Suraj RN lt to Mohit Kamat 17-21, 12-21; Sanjeeth S/ Sangeetha Mari bt Vineeth Manuel/ Harshita P 21-15, 21-12; Phalgun BS bt Goutham Bhat 16-21, 23-21, 21-15.

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