Gayatri stuns Malvika

Gayatri Gopi Chand, whose inclusion in the Asian Games team surprised many, packed off the third and first seeds in consecutive matches and entered the girls’ singles final of the Yonex-Sunrise all-India junior ranking badminton tournament at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium here on Friday evening.

The unseeded 15-year-old defeated third-seeded Amolika Singh in straight games in the quarterfinals and later upset Maharashtra’s top-seeded Malvika Bansod 21-16, 21-11 to set up a title clash with Karnataka’s Ashwini Bhat.

Meanwhile, in the boys’ singles final, Manipur’s fifth-seeded Maisnam Meiraba will take on Tamil Nadu’s unseeded Siddhanth Gupta on Saturday.

Gayatri had prevailed over the left-handed Malavika in three tight games in the Khaitan junior all-India tournament in Chandigarh in November but on Friday, she kept the 17-year-old guessing all through with her wily net play and crosscourt smashes.

“I virtually adopted the same strategy as I did against her in November,” said Gayatri after the match.

The results (under-19, singles): Boys: Semifinals: Maisnam Meiraba (Man) bt Aakash Yadav (Del) 21-11, 21-11; Siddhanth Gupta (TN) bt Abhyansh Singh (UP) 22-20, 21-11. Quarterfinals: Aakash bt Pranav Rao Gandham (TS) 21-19, 18-21, 21-15; Maisnam bt D. Jaswanth (AP) 21-18, 21-15; Abhyansh bt S. Sankar Muthusamy (TN) 21-16, 21-11; Siddhanth bt Tejas Kallolkar (Kar) 21-18, 23-21.

Girls: Semifinals: Gayatri Gopi Chand (TS) bt Malvika Bansod (Mah) 21-16, 21-11; K. Ashwini Bhat (Kar) bt Mansi Singh (UP) 21-17, 21-13. Quarterfinals: Malvika bt Uthsava Palit (WB) 23-21, 21-10; Gayatri bt Amolika Singh (UP) 21-19, 21-18; Ashwini Bhat bt M. Nivetha (TN) 21-13, 21-18; Mansi bt Drithi Yatheesh (Kar) 21-17, 21-13.

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