Nandrajog in third round

Nandrajog in third round

Gaurav Nandrajog of Delhi en route to his win against Raghu Mallena of Karnataka on Saturday. DH photo

Top seed Gaurav Nandrajog eased into the third round of the men’s singles in the 5Sports Century Bangalore Club Open squash tournament here on Saturday.

The Delhiite produced a dominating performance to brush aside Karnataka’s Raghu Mallena 11-1, 11-3, 11-2 in the second round after getting a bye in the first.

Nandrajog will take on Cholarajan Nagaraj of Tamil Nadu next. Nagaraj defeated hosts’ Ankur Srivastava 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 in the round of 64. 

Tamil Nadu’s Murukesh Mani also advanced after getting past Tarun Mammen of Karnataka 11-9, 12-10, 13-15, 11-9 in a hard-fought clash.

The experienced Mani struggled early on but found his rhythm as the game progressed. Down 4-7 in the first game, Mani used deft touches to outsmart Tarun and draw level at 7-7 before claiming it 11-9.  

Tarun’s failure to capitalise on the early advantages handed Mani second game too. But the Karnataka lad’s perseverance finally paid off in the third as he matched his opponent shot by shot to take the game to distance before winning 15-13.

Despite the setback, Mani remained composed and displayed an array of strokes to clinch the decider. Mani will face Delhi’s Saksham Choudhary, who made it after getting a walkover from Ravinder Singh Bains.

In another second-round fixture, CH Arun Kumar of Andhra Pradesh rallied from two games down to beat Rahul Vasishtha of Delhi 11-13, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-9.

After splitting the first two games, Arun raced to a 10-4 lead in the third but lost focus and Vasishtha capitalised, winning five points in a row to make it 9-10. However, Arun recovered just in time, to eventually win 13-11.

Arun kept it simple in the next two games, never allowing the Delhiite to settle, winning 11-8, 11-9. On Sunday, Arun meets Karnataka’s Prithvi Aditya, who fought past Deva Ram Choudhary of Rajasthan 12-10 11-6 11-9.

Important results (prefix denotes seeding): Men: second round: 1-Gaurav Nandrajog (DL) bt Raghu Mallena (KA) 11-1 11-3 11-2; 5/8-Akash Ashok Kumar (TN) bt Sutej Torvi (KA) 11-3 11-1 11-3; 3/4-Guhan Senthilkumar (TN) bt Rahul Kumar (KA) 11-2, 11-2, 11-4; Prithvi Aditya (KA) bt 3/4-Deva Ram Choudhary (RJ) 12-10, 11-6, 11-9; CH Arun Kumar (AP) bt Rahul Vasishtha (DL) 11-13, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-9.

Boys: U-17: Third round: 1-Didar JJ Rebello (HR) bt Rajapandian Pandiyarajan (TN) 11-1, 11-0, 11-0; 2-Aryan Khandelwal (MP) bt Vedant Vani (KA) 11-1, 11-0, 11-0; 3/4-Lakshit Bohra (RJ) bt Ronith Gadiraju (TL) 11-2, 11-4, 11-0.

U-15: Second round: Aditya Raj (KA) bt Gaurav Nath M (TN) 11-4, 11-4, 11-0; Ranbir Minocha (MH) bt Sarvesh Maniyam (TN) 11-1, 11-5, 11-5; 9/16-Dhruv Chauhan (DL) bt Prathish Caleb (TN) 11-8, 3-11, 11-6, 12-10.

U-13: Third round: 3/4-Avalokit Singh (RJ) bt Karan Gopalan (KA) 11-0, 11-2, 11-1; 5/8-Sandhesh PR (TN) bt Garrison Anantham (TN) 11-0, 11-0, 11-0.

U-11: Third round: 2-Rahul Sanjay Balakrishnan (KA) bt Shiven Agarwal (TN) 11-2, 11-5, 11-5; Abdus Samad Shah (GA) bt 9/16-Naithik D (TN) 11-6, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7.