Kerala women enter final

Sports Reporter

TIRUPUR: Aparna Balan's on court brilliance helped Kerala score a 2-0 win over host Tamil Nadu in

the women's semifinal of the South Zone inter State badminton championship at the Tirupur City Club here on Thursday.

Aparna began the road to victory for Kerala by winning the opening singles against Anees Kowsar 11-1, 11-2. However, TN seemed to stage a comeback when A. Priya and A. Divya combined well to take the first set 15-9 against Aparna and Nima Lakshmi. Despite the first end struggle, the Kerala duo got to grips with some correct tactics and reeled off the next two games 15-8, 15-7 for a place in the final.

In the men's semifinal, Siddarth Jain set Tamil Nadu on the winning path with an easy 15-3, 15-5 win over K.A. Anish. He kept the birdie in and waited for his opponent to commit mistakes. And, certainly that turned the tables in his favour.

In the second singles, much was expected of Venkatesh from Tamil Nadu. The former State champion did excite the crowd by bouncing back from a precarious position to build a 16-14 lead in the first game. However, Thomas Kurien, Kerala's best bet, held his nerves well to take the game 17-16 and wrapped the second without a sweat 15-2 to level the tie 1-1.

In the doubles that followed, Sarath Chandran and Vijay Anand duo crashed to an 8-15, 10-15 defeat to favourite George Thomas and Sanave Thomas. However, S.S. Kannan restored parity for Tamil Nadu defeating Joy T. Antony of Kerala 15-10, 15-12.

The results: (Men, Rahimtoola Cup) Semifinals: TN-Kerala 2-2: Siddarth Jain (TN) bt K.A. Anish (Ker) 15-3, 15-5, Thomas Kurien (Ker) bt Venkatesh (TN) 17-16, 15-2, George Thomas & Sanave Thomas (Ker) bt Vijay Anand & Sarath Chandran 15-8, 15-10, S.S. Kannan (TN) bt Joy T. Antony (Ker) 15-10, 15-12. Karnataka-AP 1-1: Tanishak (AP) bt Utsav Prakash (Kar) 15-11, 13-15, 15-10, Rohan Castalino (Kar) bt P. Kashyap (AP) 15-11, 15-5. Quarterfinals: Karnataka bt

Pondicherry 3-0 (Utsav Prakash bt Alosius Vijay 15-1, 15-0, Rohan Castilino bt Sathish Mathew 15-4, 15-1, Guru Prasad & Vineeth Manuel bt Sadhique & Habeeb 15-6, 15-2.

Boys (Narang Cup): AP bt TN 2-0 (P. Kashyap bt Niranjan 15-2, 15-1, P. Kashyap & L. Lokesh bt Adithya Elango and Niranjan 15-7, 15-13). Kerala bt Pondicherry 2-0 (Shankar P. Gopan bt Alosius Vijay 15-12, 15-12, Shankar P. Gopan & Alwin Francis bt Alosius Vijay & Silambarasan 17-16, 8-15, 15-9.

Women: Semifinals: Kerala bt TN 2-0 (Aparna Balan bt Anees Kowsar 11-1, 11-2, Aparna Balan & Nima Lakshmi bt A. Divya & A. Priya 9-15, 15-8, 15-7. Karnataka-AP 1-1: Ashwini (Karnataka bt Sarada (AP) 11-6, 11-13, 11-1, Ashwini & Saumya Padhy (Karnataka) lost to Sri Lakshmi & Ashwini 11-15, 9-15.

Girls (Shafiquershi Cup): Karnataka bt AP 2-0 (Ruth Misha bt J. Shruthi 9-11, 11-5, 11-0, Ashwini & Nithya bt J. Shruthi & P. Jyotsna 15-6, 9-15, 15-5). TN bt Pondicherry 2-0 (Amrin Mubarak bt Pongadhai 11-0, 11-0, A. Priya & Aswathy Mathew bt Pongadhai & Ashwini 15-1, 15-1.

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