All India Senior Ranking Badminton Tournament 2018: Lakshya Sen, Siril Verma, Gayatri Gopichand upset seeds
India’s talented bunch of teenage stars began their campaign at the Yonex Sunrise All India Senior Ranking Badminton Tournament 2018 in Bangalore in a thunderous fashion with all three of Lakshya Sen, Siril Verma and Gayatri Gopichand upsetting seeds to reach the pre-quarter-finals on Friday.
Sen was made to work hard by qualifier Kiran Kumar in the first round. The 16-year-old came back from a game down to secure a 17-21, 21-11, 21-18 win. His second round turned out to be a comparatively more comfortable affair as he managed to notch up a 23-21, 21-9 win over the ninth seed Rohit Yadav.
Up next for Sen is fellow rising star Siril Verma in what would be a blockbuster match. The latter, a qualifier at this tournament, beat Anant Shivam Jindal 21-11, 21-15 in the first round and followed it up with a 21-11, 21-16 upset win over the eighth seed Siddharth Pratap Singh.
Former national champion Sourabh Verma, also a qualifier at this event, began his main draw challenge with a 21-18, 21-15 defeat of the second seed Mithun Manjunath. He dropped the second game in a tough second round, but managed to prevail 21-16, 23-25, 21-15 over fellow qualifier Aditya Joshi.
Top seed Pratul Joshi too laboured to a 16-21, 21-19, 21-18 win over qualifier Pranay R in the first round before getting a 21-18, 21-14 win over Sudeep Suresh.
Das, Pathi, Gopichand steal the show
The women’s singles draw too witnessed a string of upsets. The top seed Vaishnavi Bhale was shown the door 17-21, 14-21 by qualifier Shivani Pathe, who reached the third round with a 21-13, 24-22 win over Tanya Hemanth.
Former national champion Rituparna Das established her supremacy on return from injury and indifferent form to oust the 14th seeded Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli 21-12, 21-16 in the second round. A day earlier, she had accounted for Samiya Imad Farooqui 21-17, 21-14 in the first round.
Pullela Gopichand’s 15-year-old daughter, Gayatri has been showing her impressive fighting skills throughout his tournament. The teen, also a qualifier at this event, carved out two gritty wins in three games to reach the pre-quarter-finals.
She first accounted for Saili Rane 21-13, 15-21, 21-15 and then clawed her way back from a game down to beat seventh seed Shruti Mundada 19-21, 21-17, 27-25.
Second seed Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka had no hiccups. She hasn’t dropped a game on her way to the third round.
In mixed doubles, Dhruv Kapila and Meghana Jakkampudi teamed up to topple the third seeds Rohan Kapoor and Kuhoo Garg 22-20, 21-12. Hemanagendra Babu T and Ningshi Block Hazarika also got the better of the seventh seeds Utkarsh Arora and Karishma Wadkar 24-22, 21-16 in some of the early matches on Friday.
This tournament is the first of the two events that will serve as selection trials for the upcoming Asian Games to be held from August 18. Most of the high profile shuttlers had to play the qualifying rounds as they are not ranked at the national level.