Rajasthan boys enter national TT meet quarters

Vadodara, Jan 7 (IANS) Top-seeded Rajasthan defeated Karnataka 3-0 to enter the youth boys’ quarter-finals in the 78th Junior and Youth National Championships at the SAMA Indoor Complex here on Saturday.

But they will now run into a solid Delhi who beat North Bengal by the same margin.

In fact, all winners of the pre-quarterfinal matches were favourites to win and they did their job diligently, demolishing their respective opponents rather easily.

Though the top-seeded team beat Karnataka, the Rajasthan boys were not convincing enough on the day.

Pankaj Vishwakarma and Shubham Ojah, on whose shoulders rest the defending champions’ fortunes, struggled in their first outing in the knockout stage.

Pankaj was stretched fully when Rakshit Barigidad produced a strong challenge before the Rajasthan lad scripted a 11-7, 5-11, 7-11, 11-3, 11-5 win.

Shubham faced resistance from Shreyas Kulkarni before winning 11-5, 4-11, 10-12, 5-11. Asif Khan, Rajasthan’s third player, showed guts to beat Rohan Jamadagni 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7 to seal the quarter-final berth.

The Haryana boys managed to take a rubber off Uttar Pradesh when Gourang Shakreja took the third singles against Arjun Kohli 12-10, 11-7, 11-8.

But Uttar Pradesh showed more determination and almost sealed their berth in the last eight stages when Abhina Belwal and Sarthak Sethi downed their opponents Paras Madan and Ayush Tayal in straight games.

In the youth girls’ section, except for two matches between Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal and Haryana, all other pre-quarterfinals went along expected lines.

However, the AAI girls led by Archana Girish Kamath, Ayhika Mukherjee and Chipia Frenaz struggled to overcome a tough Andhra. The AAI girls did manage to win but they wouldn’t be satisfied with their performance, especially Archana who went down to Shailu Noorbasha in her singles.

The Haryana girls, unlike the boys, proved to be gutsier as West Bengal would vouch.

What clinched the issue in favour of the second-seeded West Bengal was the crucial third singles which Priyadarshini Das won against Shelly Khandelwal to go 2-1 up.