Kaushal Dharmamer and Aakarshi Kashyap kept Indian hopes alive after registering straight game wins to reach the semi-finals of the India International Challenge badminton tournament on Friday. K Maneesha-Arjun MR pair from mixed doubles and Manu Atri-B Sumeeth Reddy from doubles also joined them.
With the singles shuttlers playing their second round and the quarter-finals matches on the same day, it wasn’t going to be an easy task. But Aakarshi ensured she didn’t spend too much time at the Cricket Club of India courts on Friday. She upset fourth seed Riya Mookerkee 21-14, 21-15 in the round of 16, before defeating compatriot Tanishq Mamilla Palli 21-16, 21-14 in the quarter-finals — a combined total of 72 minutes on court.
Dharmamer ousted compatriot Raghu Mariswamy in the round of 16 with a 21-18, 21-12 scoreline, before returning later to defeat NG Tze Yong of Malaysia 21-17, 21-17 in the quarter-finals.
“Playing two matches is definitely a challenge but the key is to focus on just one point at a time. If you can have the grit and determination to do that, the rest takes care of itself,” Dharmamer said after his quarter-finals victory, reported Scroll.
18-year-old Aakarshi will now face top seed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in the semi-finals on Saturday, while Dharmamer goes up against an old foe in Adulrach Namkul, the man who defeated second seed Ajay 21-19, 21-19 on Friday.
“That doesn’t count for much, he is playing well and defeated Ajay today so his confidence must be high. I am sure he must have learnt from our last encounter and I will have to be at my best to get the win,” Dharmamer added.
Maneesha K and Arjun MR defeated compatriots Rutuparna Panda and Shivam Sharma 21-18, 21-15, while top seeds Manu Attri and his partner Sumeeth Reddy came through against Sharma and Tarun Kona in three games (21-13, 20-22, 21-7). Junior shuttler Priyanshu Rajawat upset top seed Vladimir Malkov 21-17, 21-18 in the second round, but faltered 21-18, 21-19 against fifth seed Xiaodong Sheng of Canada in the quarter-finals.
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