Pawar battles past Bhat

Sindhu, Kashyap sail into quarters

 Fourth-seed Anand Pawar was pushed to the wall by a tenacious Arvind Bhat of Karnataka but kept his nerves to post a thrilling 21-18, 12-21, 21-19 win to enter the men’s singles quarterfinals of the ATS National Badminton Championships at Siri Fort Sports Complex on Saturday.

 Pawar, who looked in control after cruising through the opening game, dropped his intensity in the second game. Bhat, seizing the opportunity through shorter rallies, quickly drew parity. In the stiffly fought decider, the ninth-seeded Bhat riding on his attacking smashes, opened up a big 11-3 lead before Pawar brought out the fighter in him.

Showing supple wrists, which fetched him valuable points at net, Pawar first narrowed the lead to 7-12 before overtaking Bhat taking six points in a row. The rallies stretched longer.

The one at 15-15 saw the two fight to a standstill before Pawar took the lead with a drop to which Bhat couldn’t reach. The Air India player soon reached 20-17 that earned him three match points. But Bhat suddenly closed in by saving two of them. Pawar, however, converted the third to let out a victory cry after a 59-minute of exhausting battle.
He next plays K Srikanth, who advanced after his opponent Rohit Yadav retired hurt at 21-11, 12-7.

Top seeded Parupalli Kashyap also sailed through, getting past Shubhankar Dey 21-14, 21-13. Dey had taken out former national champion Chetan Anand in the third round in the morning.

There were several close matches in the men’s singles prequarterfinals. Sixth seed B Sai Praneeth was given a scare by talented junior Sameer Verma before rallying to win 11-21, 21-13, 21-17.

Praneeth is now up against third-seeded Ajay Jayaram, who fought off a tough second game challenge from Karntaka qualifier Rohan Castelino to advance 21-12, 22-20.            
Eighth-seeded Sourabh Varma continued his rich vein of form to eke out a marathon first game against former champion and 10th seed Anup Sridhar before winning 26-24, 21-19. Sourabh now plays second seed RMV Gurusaidutt, who needed only 24 minutes to show the door to Ajay Kumar K 21-10, 21-6.

Top players shine

In the women’s singles, top players progressed into the quarterfinals. Defending champion and seventh-seed Sayali Gokhale , however, took time to get into the groove in the first  game  against former junior national champion Ruth Misha of Karnataka but recovered in time to  post a 21-19, 21-6 victory. She will now face 13th seed Aarthi Sara Sunil of Kerala.

“It was a close match. In the first game my shots were not upto mark. She was better in the rallies," Sayali said.

Second seed P V Sindhu looked in a hurry against ninth-seeded Mudra Dhainje to notch up a 21-3, 21-7 in just 23 minutes. She meets fifth-seeded seed P C Thulasi, who scored an easy 21-7, 21-5 win over 10th seed Jacqueline Rose Kunnath.

Both singles quarterfinals as well semifinals will take place on Sunday.

Important pre-quarterfinals results (prefix denotes seedings): Men's singles: 1-P Kashyap bt 11-Shubhankar Dey 21-14, 21-13; 3-Ajay Jayaram bt Rohan Castelino 21-12 22-20; 4-Anand Pawar bt 9-Arvind Bhat 21-18, 12-21, 21-19; 5-K. Srikanth bt 13-Rohit Yadav C 21-11 12-7 (retired), 6-B Sai Praneethbt 12-Sameer Verma 11-21, 21-13, 21-17, 7-HS Prannoy bt 14-Abhimanyu Singh 21-14, 21-10, 8-Sourabh Varma bt 10-Anup Sridhar 26-24, 21-19.

Women’s Singles: 2-PV Sindhu bt 9- Mudra Dhainje 21-3, 21-7, 3-Arundhati Pantawane bt 14-Neha Pandit 21-16, 21-14; 4-Tanvi Lad bt 12-Mohita Sahdev 21-8, 21-8, 5-P C Thulasi  bt 10-Jacqueline Rose Kunnath 21-7 21-5; 6-Saili Rane bt 11-Ruthvika Shivani G. 14-9 (retired), 7-Sayali Gokhale bt Ruth Misha V 21-19, 21-6; 13-Arathi Sara Sunil bt Bornali Konwar 21-13 21-9, 15-Rituparna Das bt Shriyanshi Pardeshi 21-12, 2-1 (retired).

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