‘Shuttle queens’ leave fans in awe

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Nov 2017 09:14:37


By Anupam Soni,

THE roar that went out on the arrival of the ‘shuttle queens’ said it all. Die-hard badminton fans from the Orange City were eager to lap up every bit of action that Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu were going to present on Monday afternoon. And they delivered, sending the packed Divisional Sports Complex at Mankapur in a frenzy.
The top Indian stars took little time in casting their magic with the racquet. As they did, the duo held Nagpurians in an awe. “Baapre, kya khela, dekh dekh…drop dekh,” “Badhiya, kya baat hai,” “Ghazab ka smash, zabardast”… true Nagpuri-style exclamations kept pouring.

Huge screams of delight welcomed all the established stars on the courts but the biggest was reserved for PV Sindhu, the poster girl of Indian badminton. She, along with Saina, Kidambi Srikanth and other icon players — who started their event in the 82nd Senior National Badminton Championship with pre-quarter-finals directly, lived up to the expectations of the aficionados.
It was a visual treat for the city badminton lovers who were witnessing these top players in flesh and blood for the first time. The cross court drops, the powerful smashes, deceptive drops from the baseline, the reflex returns, the surprise services... all were on display in plenty.

Their young opponents, who earned the right to play them going through the rigours of the qualifying rounds, too, proved to be worth rivals.
In the women’s quarter-finals played in the evening session, Aakarshi Kashyap gave a tough fight to Saina while Shriyanshi Pardeshi proved a point or two against the celebrated Sindhu.
Aakarshi, in fact, was leading 10-4 at one stage against Saina. Shriyanshi held Sindhu to 8-8 in their second game while Maharashtra’s Revati Devasthale also was 9-9 versus Sindhu in pre-quarters in the morning session.
And, as the trend the world over is, the underdogs were cheered and appreciated
whenever they took a point. The crowd involvement made the ties more interesting.
However, there were no upsets as the better rated players
came out strongly to move up. And that’s exactly what the crowd wanted!


Sindhu, Saina on course of a scintillating final

Srikanth, Prannoy in men’s SF; city challenge ends as Mrunmayi, Rasika and Malvika lose


By Anupam Soni

IT has been long time since the top two Indian woman shuttlers have taken on each other in a final.
Olympic medallists—top seed PV Sindhu and second seed Saina Nehwal—have stayed on course for a mouth-watering final by securing semi-final spots in the 82nd Senior National Badminton Championship in progress at the Divisional Sports Complex, Mankapur, on Monday.
Men’s top seed Kidambi Srikanth and second seed HS Prannoy, too, made it to the last four stage of the national event.

Subhankar Dey of Railways stunned third seed Sai Praneeth in the quarters and will take on Prannoy while fourth seed Petroleum’s Ajay Jayram conceded his last eight match to unseeded but highly talented Lakshya Sen. Sen, a Prakash Padukone Academy player, who was last year world’s top player in junior category, was leading 15-10 when Ajay threw in the towel.

In the men’s quarters, Srikanth was given a tough fight by eighth seed Shubham Prajapati. After losing first game 21-17, Prajapati held game point in the second briefly before the in-form champion closed it out with a smash to take it 23-21.
Fifth seed P Kashyap, who was once a top ten world player and reached a career high of six, gave tough fight to Prannoy before bowing out 20-22 19-21, in straight games.
Upcoming youngsters fifth seed Anura Prabhudesai and unseeded Ruthvika Shivani will clash with Saina and Sindhu respectively in the semi-finals.

In the quarter-finals, Saina defeated Aakarshi Kashyap 21-17, 21-10; Sindhu beat seventh seed Madhya Pradesh’s Shriyanshi Pardeshi 21-11, 21-17; Petroleum’s Shivani caused an upset getting the better of third seed Sai Uttejitha Rao 21-14, 21-8 while Airport Authority of India player and fifth seed Anura beat Saili Rane 21-19, 21-9.
Mrunmayi loses in QF, Rasika disappoints, Malvika out
MRUNMAYI Saoji was the only city player who was seen in action in the quarter-finals. Mrunmayi and her Pune partner Manasi Gadgil had their task cut out as they were up against India’s best women’s doubles players. They were no match to top seed Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy going down tamely 21-10, 21-12 in just 19 minutes.
Earlier in the day, Mrunmayi-Manasi outwitted Shikha Gautam-Riya Mookerjee 21-19, 21-16.

India number six Rasika Raje, who trains at Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad, disappointed her supporters. She was expected to get past unseeded Ruthvika Shivani but the southpaw lost 14-21, 5-21 in a 47-minute encounter.
City’s upcoming shuttler Malvika Bansod had won two tough games on Sunday to enter the pre-quarters. In the first game against Shriyanshi, she was 10-10 but allowed her opponent to take seven points in a row to lose 11-21. She started with a bang in the second game to lead 11-6 at the interval and raced to 17-10. She faltered once again giving seven points in a row for the second time in the match. From 10-17, Shriyanshi won 21-18.

“She is a very talented player. She is young and has age on her side and is definitely a good prospect,” said Shriyanshi of Malvika after the match.