The decision to use the world rankings to determine the seeding in the ATS 51st National badminton championship stood vindicated on Saturday. All eight seeds in the men’s section, and the six surviving among women, made it to the quarterfinals at the Sirifort Indoor Stadium here on Saturday.
In fact, the real battle for the title will be witnessed from now on in the men’s section where the lower seeds can be expected to come hard at the favourites for a place in the semifinals on Sunday.
Barring fourth seed Anand Pawar and sixth seed B. Sai Praneeth — both of whom celebrated as though they had won the title — the others made it to the quarterfinals without dropping a game.
Dealing with a fighting Arvind Bhat, who joined two former champions Chetan Anand and Anup Sridhar among the day’s losers, Pawar had to draw from his reserves while trailing 3-11 and 7-12 in the decider.Long rallies
In fact, it was Bhat seemed to be running out of steam after Pawar engaged him in long rallies in the decider. The former did well to save two match points but could not deny Pawar in this hour-long battle.
Reigning champion Kashyap was busy conserving his energy for the tougher challenges ahead as the flamboyant Shubhankar Dey chose to self destruct. K. Srikanth cruised through after Rohit Yadav retired in the second game. His next round rival will be Pawar.
In the bottom half of the draw, Saurabh Verma won an ill-tempered match against Anup. Trailing 0-8 and 13-17, Anup held four game-points in the thrilling first game. But, Saurabh converted his third game-point by reeling off three points. In the second, Bhat led 4-0 and 6-4, but Saurabh never trailed thereafter though the players were level at 13. The latter’s stamina saw him survive, though there was very little to choose between the players in this 49-minute battle. Qualifier Rohan Castelino joined Karnataka teammates Bhat and Anup on the sidelines after losing to Ajay Jayaram. R.M.V. Gurusaidatt brushed aside Ajay Kumar in just 24 minutes in another match. Among the ladies, one-sided matches produced expected results with favourite P.V. Sindhu set to face her first serious challenger in fifth seed P.C. Thulasi on Sunday.
Arundhati Pantawane had it easy against Neha Pandit while Rituparna Das advanced after Shriyanshi Pardeshi retired in the second game owing to a shin-sprain. Saili Rane progressed after Ruthvika Shivani pulled out with a twisted ankle.
Defending champion Sayali Gokhale, meanwhile, stayed on course for a semifinal clash with Tanvi Lad.
The quarterfinal line-ups:
Men: Kashyap-Prannoy, Pawar-Srikanth, Praneeth-Jayaram, and Saurabh-Gurusaidatt.
Women: Arathi-Sayali, Tanvi-Rituparna, Saili-Arundhati, and Thulasi-Sindhu.
The results (pre-quarterfinals):
Men: 1-P. Kashyap bt 11-Subhankar Dey 21-14, 21-13; 7-H.S. Prannoy bt 14-Abhimanyu Singh 21-14, 21-10; 3-Anand Pawar bt 9-Arvind Bhat 21-18, 12-21, 21-19.
5-K. Srikanth bt 13-Rohit Yadav 21-11, 12-7, retd.; 6-B. Sai Praneeth bt 12-Sameer Verma 11-21, 21-13, 21-17; 3-Ajay Jayaram bt Rohan Castelino 21-12, 22-20; 8-Saurabh Verma bt 10-Anup Sridhar 26-24, 21-19; 2-R.M.V. Gurusaidatt bt Ajay Kumar 21-10, 21-6.
Women: 13-Arathi Sara Sunil bt Bornali Kanwar 21-13, 21-19; 7-Sayali Gokhale bt V. Ruth Misha 21-19, 21-6; 4-Tanvi Lad bt 12-Mohita Sahdev 21-8, 21-8; 15-Rituparna Das bt Shriyanshi Pardeshi 21-12, 2-1, retd.; 6-Saili Rane bt Ruthvika Shivani 14-9, retd.; 3-Arundhati Pantawane bt 14-Neha Pandit 21-16, 21-14; 5-P.C. Thulasi (Ker) bt 10-Jacqueline Rose Kunnath 21-7, 21-5; 2-P.V. Sindhu bt 9-Mudra Dhainje 21-3, 21-7.