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Anupama Upadhyaya, Sathish Kumar go down fighting in Bahrain International Series semifinals

Anupama Upadhyaya (L) on the podium during the prize distribution ceremony in Bahrain on Sunday
Anupama Upadhyaya (L) on the podium during the prize distribution ceremony in Bahrain on Sunday
Suhas Nayse
EXPERT

Anupama Upadhyaya and Sathish Kumar Karunakaran excelled at the Bahrain International Series badminton tournament. It concluded in Manama, Bahrain on Sunday.

The five-day tournament was organized by the Bahrain Badminton Federation under the auspices of Badminton World Federation. Unseeded Indian players Anupama Upadhyaya and K Sathish Kumar dazzled in the annual tourney by making it to the singles semifinals.

Anupama caused a couple of major upsets to hog the limelight. The promising teenager Anupama toppled top seed Ozge Bayrak of Turkey 19-21, 23-21, 21-14 to start her campaign on a rousing note.

World No. 184 Anupama lost the first game narrowly and was struggling in the second as well against World No. 85 Ozge Bayrak. However, Anupama managed to stay in the match by clinching the extended second game 23-21.

In the deciding third game, Anupama was unstoppable and sealed the fate of the Turkish player in a marathon battle which lasted for nearly an hour.

Anupama Upadhyaya (R) with her bronze medal
Anupama Upadhyaya (R) with her bronze medal

Anupama shocked World No. 1 junior Stephanie Widjaja of Indonesia in quarters

Continuing her brilliant run, Anupama shocked Stephanie Widjaja of Indonesia 21-15, 21-17 in the quarterfinals. Anupama needed 43 minutes to oust junior Under-19 girls’ singles World No. 1 Stephanie.

The Indonesian was also Under-15 girls’ singles runner-up at the Asian Badminton Championships held in 2017.

However, Anupama’s spectacular run was halted in the semis by another Indonesian shuttler. Anupama, a trainee at Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, lost to Komang Ayu Cahya Dewi of Indonesia 16-21, 15-21 in 40 minutes.

I am satisfied with my performance in Bahrain: Anupama

Anupama was satisfied with her performance but said she had her chances in the semi-final against the Indonesian player.

“It was overall a very good tournament for me. I caused a couple of big upsets to reach the semis. I would have been happier had I managed to reach the final. It was a match which I should have won but some tactical errors cost me. Beating the world's top junior player gave me a lot of satisfaction,” said Anupama.
Anupama Upadhyaya caused two major upsets to reach the women's singles semi-finals
Anupama Upadhyaya caused two major upsets to reach the women's singles semi-finals

The Haryana teenager won the Infosys Foundation International Challenge tournament last month in Bengaluru. She will now travel to Ambala to play in the Haryana State Championship before leaving for Bangladesh to play another international tournament early next month.

Qualifier Sathish Kumar shined in men’s singles by reaching semis

K Sathish Kumar was the only Indian men’s singles player to reach the last-four stage after making the main draw through qualification rounds. The Tamil Nadu youngster squeezed past Indian counterpart and fourth seed Kartikey Gulshan Kumar 21-23, 21-10, 21-19 in the first round. The match lasted for an hour and 20 minutes.

K Sathish Kumar did well to reach the men's singles semi-finals in Bahrain
K Sathish Kumar did well to reach the men's singles semi-finals in Bahrain

The 20-year-old Coimbatore player also upset eighth seed Jia Heng Jason Teh of Singapore 14-21-14, 21-17, 21-12 in the quarters. Showing his extraordinary fitness level, Sathish won the match in an hour and 16 minutes.

However, Sathish Kumar’s brilliant run ended in the semi-finals as he lost to Chan Yin Chak of Hong Kong China 10-21, 17-21 in 40 minutes.

Seeded Indian players disappointed

Barring Anupama Upadhyaya and Sathish Kumar, other Indian players failed to rise to the occasion and made an early exit.

Top seeds in the women’s doubles Ritika Thaker and Simran Singhi were knocked out in the first round itself.

World No. 111 Ritika Thaker and Simran Singhi were surprised by Meilysa Trias Puspita Sari and Rachel Allessya Rose of Indonesia 17-21, 12-21. Ritika and Simran were matching their Indonesian rivals initially but lost out on their steam as the match progressed and lost in 47 minutes.

Ritika and Simran also disappointed in the mixed doubles category. Ghana Muhammad Al Ilham and Serena Kani of Indonesia defeated qualifiers Bokka Navaneeth and Ritika Thaker 21-14, 21-12 in 28 minutes.

Li Kuen Hon and Lui Lok Lok of Hong Kong, China, edged past Akshan Shetty and Simran Singhi 21-13, 18-21, 21-18 in the first round of qualifying.

Rohan Kapoor and Sanjana Santosh started well by dismissing Andika Ramadiansyah and Marsheilla Gischa Islami 21-17, 21-14 in the first round. However, the young Indian duo were surprised by another Indonesian combination in the quarters.

Indonesian pair Amri Syahnawi and Christopher David Wijaya shocked fourth seeds Utkarsh Arora and Akshan Shetty 21-15, 21-13 in the men’s doubles.

Third seed in the women’s singles Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka was stunned by Aisyah Sativa Fatetani of Indonesia 14-21, 10-21 in the first round.

Komang Ayu Cahya Dewi of Indonesia shocked fourth seed Ira Sharma 21-7, 21-15in 25 minutes.

Yeung Sum Yee of Hong Kong China edged past talented teenager Tanya Hemanth 21-14, 13-21, 21-17 in 63 minutes.

Southpaw Shruti Mundada was beaten in the first round by Stephanie Widjaja of Indonesia in straight games.

Indian Results

Semifinals

Women’s singles

Anupama Upadhyaya lost to Komang Ayu Cahya Dewi (Indonesia) 16-21, 15-21 (40 minutes)

Men’s singles

Sathish Kumar Karunakaran lost to Chan Yin Chak (Hong Kong China) 10-21, 17-21 (40 minutes)

Quarterfinals

Women’s singles

Anupama Upadhyaya bt Stephanie Widjaja (Indonesia) 21-15, 21-17 (43 minutes)

Purva Barve lost to Yeung Sum Yee (Hong Kong China) 8-21, 21-10, 11-21 (58 minutes)

Men’s singles

Sathish Kumar Karunakaran bt 8-Jia Heng Jason Teh (Singapore) 14-21, 21-17, 21-12 (76 minutes)

Men’s doubles

Vaibhaav-Nithin HV lost to 1-Sachin Dias-Buwaneka Goonethilleka (Sri Lanka) 12-21, 9-21 (25 minutes)

Women’s doubles

Kavya Gupta-Khushi Gupta lost to Ni Ketut Mahadewi Istarani-Serena Kani (Indonesia) 12-21, 13-21 (45 minutes)

Mixed doubles

4-Rohan Kapoor-Sanjana Santosh lost to Muhammad Al Ilham Ghana-Serena Kani (Indonesia) 8-21, 18-21 (35 minutes).


Edited by Diptanil Roy
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