Veterans Arvind Bhat and Chetan Anand proved they were still among the best players in the country by qualifying for the main draw of the India Open Superseries. Both Anand and Bhat prevailed over younger opponents in qualifying round matches today.
Bhat won a close first round against Pisit Poodchalat of Thailand 22-20 21-19 before outplaying compatriot Aditya Prakash 20-22 21-14 21-18 in the second round.
However, Bhat’s close friend and contemporary Anup Sridhar could not make it past the second qualifying round. Sridhat beat Academy-mate Mohit Kamat 21-11 21-12 but was dealt the same treatment by Prannoy HS, who beat him 21-17 21-14. Prannoy will play Suppanyu of Thailand in the first round.
Chetan Anand, recognised as the most complete Indian strokeplayer of his generation, has had a rough time over the last couple of years due to injury. He gave Abhimanyu Singh no chance in his first round match, winning 21-17 21-12. The second round was expected to be tougher, for he would be running into one of India’s brightest young prospects, Sameer Verma.
Undeterred, Anand held off his younger compatriot in the first game, saving three game points to win 22-20. Although he lost the second, he proved too good for Verma in the end, shooting from 9-all to 14-11 and then 20-11. For his efforts, Anand will be rewarded with a first round match against Sourabh Verma, while Arvind Bhat takes on Kenichi Tago of Japan.
Subhankar Dey, who trains at Tom’s Badminton Academy, came through two tough qualifying rounds, beating Rohit Yadav and Oscar Bansal in three games.
In women’s singles, former national champion Trupti Murgunde joined Rituparna Das, Saili Rane and Ruthvika Shivani into the main draw. Murgunde had to dig deep to outlast Riya Pillai. After losing the second game 21-8, Murgunde won a close battle in the decider, to prevail 21-14 8-21 21-18. She had comparatively lesser trouble against Anastasia Chervaykova of Russia, whom she beat 21-19 21-19.
Ruthvika Shivani, who is one of the most talented youngsters in her category, faced some trouble against Mudra Dhainje, but she prevailed in three games. Varsha Belawadi posed little trouble for her as she won easily, 21-11 21-11.
Among those who qualified in men’s doubles were: Kiran Kumar B/Anilraju M and Chaitanya Reddy/Santosh Ravuri.