Top Indian paddlers Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan and Manika Batra moved to the quarterfinals of their respective singles events with contrasting wins at the National Games on Friday.
While Sharath defeated Jeet Chandra of West Bengal 7-11, 11-6, 8-11,11-7, 11-6, 11-6 (4-2), Sathiyan also eked out a 7-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 win over West Bengal’s Ronit Bhanja.
Batra, on the other hand, was given a run for her money by Karnataka’s Kushi V, scraping through to a 4-3 (4-11, 11-8, 12-10, 4-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7) victory in the women’s singles pre-quarterfinals.
The Karnataka paddler knew that she had nothing to lose while playing against Batra and took the attack to her opponent.
Having lost the opening game, Batra took the next two to take the lead but Kushi did well to keep pace with the world No. 45 and took the match in the decider.
Batra took 5-1 lead at the change of ends in the 7th and final set but Kushi showed resilience and belief in her attack to level scores at 7-7.
But a wrong shot selection allowed Batra to once again take the lead and the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist then wrapped up the match by forcing her opponent into making an error.
“I went into the match with a clear thought of not getting overawed by my opponent’s stature and play her like just any other opponent. I had a chance to win today but it’s disappointing that I could not find a way to win,” Kushi said.
West Bengal’s Ayhika Mukherjee’s prowess with the odd rubber was too much to handle for seventh seed Swastika Ghosh of Maharashtra, who went down 0-4.
Olympian Sutirtha Mukherjee dominated fifth-seeded Anusha Kutumbale (Madhya Pradesh) 4-0 while local hope Krittwika Sinha Roy proved too good for eighth seed Takeme Sarkar in a straight-set victory.
Krittwika will now face Batra in the quarterfinals while Ayhika will meet second seed Sreeja Akula.
In the men’s singles, Telangana’s F R Snehit and Maharashtra’s Deepit Patil packed off third seed Sanil Shetty and fifth seed Anirban Ghosh respectively.
Earlier, Krittwika had assured herself a mixed doubles medal after Manush Shah and she defeated Uttar Pradesh’s Abhishek Yadav and Suhana Narjinary in straight sets to reach the semi-finals.