Chennai, May 24 (IANS) Top seed P. Gayatri Gopichand of Telangana faced her first tough fight in the Microplex Global and Yonex Sunrise All-India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament before prevailing 2-0 and entering the quarter-finals here on Friday night.
The daughter of India coach Pullela Gopichand was stretched all the way by the unseeded Khushi Gupta of Delhi in the Under-19 Girls Singles clash for a place in the Last 8. It took the 16-year-old’s cool temperament and superior skill to eke out a 22-20 win in the first game. The second game was equally close with Khushi determined to battle for every fight. But in the end Gayatri lived up to her ranking, closing it at 21-16.
No. 3 seed Malvika Bansod of the Airports Authority of India and Chennai’s Akshaya Arumugam had comparatively easier rounds, getting the better of No. 12 seed Aditi Bhatt of Uttarakhand and Riya Kunjir of Maharashtra. Malvika won 21-19 21-11 while an impressive Akshaya romped home with a 21-12, 21-11 victory.
Earlier in the day, Gayatri barely stretched herself to beat Prerana Alvekar of Maharasthra, 21-11 21-13. Malvika, however, struggled against unseeded Tanya Hemanth (Karnataka), losing the second game 15-21. The final game too was tight but she survived the scare for a 21-10 15-21 21-18 win.
Unnati Bisht (No. 4, UTR) and Samiya Imad Farooqui (No. 5, TS) joined the duo by taming Likhita Srivastava of Delhi 21-16 21-8 and Treesa Jolly of Kerala 21-16 21-10.
Amolika Singh (No. 6, Uttar Pradesh) and Tasnim Mir (No. 13, Gujarat) were the only two seeds in girls’ category to tumble out of the competition. They lost to Aadya Variyath of Kerala 22-20 16-21 21-16 and Himanshi Rawat of Uttarakhand 22-20 7-21 21-15, respectively.
No. 2 seed Maisnam Meiraba of Manipur drove the top seeds in the Under-19 Boys Singles, carrying as many as 11 more into the next round. He beat Bharat Raghav of Haryana (21-8 23-21) to set up a clash with Rohan Gurbani (Maharashtra) who took down Karan Negi (HP) 21-13 21-7.
Other seeds who progressed include Sai Charan Koya (No. 3, AP), Sathish Kumar K. (4, TN), Aakash Yadav (No. 5, Delhi), Tharun M. (6, Telangana), Siddhanth Gupta (No. 10, TN) and Pranav Rao Gandham (No. 16, Telangana).