All India Senior Ranking Tournament 2018: Gayatri Gopichand, Lakshya Sen enter last 4 in Hyderabad
On Friday, backed by a vociferous crowd, 15-year-old Gayatri Gopichand made it to the last 4 of the women's singles at the All India Senior Ranking Tournament in Hyderabad on Friday. Teenage sensation Lakshya Sen, too, stormed into the semifinals where he will face Sourabh Verma in a blockbuster clash at this tournament, which serves as selection trials for the Asian Games in August
Gayatri to meet Sai Uttejitha Rao in semis
Early in the day, Gayatri got the better of ninth-seed Reshma Karthik 21-18, 21-9 quite comfortably as she was hardly tested. Then, in the quarters, she overcame Saili Rane, who is 10 years senior to her, 23-21, 21-9. Saili did get off to a better start but it was Gayatri who started dominating the game.
The teenager will, however, face her toughest challenge yet in the semis on Saturday when she takes on Sai Uttejitha Rao, who won the senior ranking tournament in Bengaluru last week. She is placed third in the all-India rankings for women’s singles an has been in great form of late.
.On Friday, she also won two back-to-back straight games, beating former national champion Rituparna Das and 15-year-old prospect Aashi Rawat. The clash with Rituparna was a repeat of last week's final in Bengaluru and Uttejitha went on to win 21-16, 21-16.
The other semifinal will be contested between junior national champion Aakarshi Kashyap and Ashmita Chaliha. Kashyap beat Bhavya Rishi 21-19, 23-21 in the third round, before seeing off a tricky test against Shriyanshi Pardeshi (21-17, 18-21, 21-12) in the quarters.Ashmita, on the other hand, registered straight-set wins over Samiya Farooqui and Shikha Gautam.
Lakshya sets up semi-final clash with Sourabh
Elsewhere, in the men's singles draw, Lakshya Sen breezed through his third-round and quarter-final matches to set up a mouth-watering clash against Sourabh Verma, who had won the Bengaluru tournament last week
Lakshya registered wins over fourth seed Kartik Jindal and the seasoned campaigner RMV Gurusaidutt in straight games.
Verma, on his part, also claimed easy wins over 16th seed Aryamann Tandon and eighth seed Siddharth Pratap Singh
With Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy and Sai Praneeth already in the men's singles team for the Asian Games, there is only one spot available. And, the winner of this clash might very well decide who will be going to Jakarta.
Siril Verma also made it to the last four as he beat Bodhit Joshi, the seventh seed, 19-21, 21-12, 21-10, and Alap Mishra 21-18, 21-11. The former junior World No. 1 will take on Rahul Yadav C, who beat second seed Mithun Manjunath 21-19, 21-11, and then Nikhilshyam Sriram 22-20, 21-15, in the semi-finals.