Assam Duo Go Down Fighting, Aakarshi Gets Better Of Denmark’s Amalie In Masters Super 100

Local star shuttlers Ashmita Chaliha and qualifier Isharani Baruah put up a spirited fight but ended up on the losing side on Wednesday in the women’s singles first-round clash against their higher-ranked opponents in the Guwahati Masters Super 100 badminton tournament held in Assam.

Ashmita had a game point in the second game against Thailand’s Lalinrat Chaiwan but could not convert the same and went down 21-17, 22-20 in 38 minutes. On the other hand, Isharani, who was up against third seed Sung Shuo Yun of Chinese Taipei, showed glimpses of her talent during her 33-minute stay on the court before bowing out 21-13, 21-10, as per a press release.

In the day’s other matches, India’s Sameer Verma upset men’s singles third seed Kiran George of India in straight games while women’s singles fifth seed Aakarshi Kashyap of India saved a match point to beat Denmark’s Amalie Schulz to advance to the pre-quarterfinals. Sameer, who has been struggling with injuries for the last few months, dominated the proceedings against the third seed Kiran throughout the 32-minute second-round encounter, winning 21-13, 21-13, the release said.

While Kiran could not find a way past Sameer, Aakarshi kept her nerves after losing the opening game to beat Schulz 15-21, 21-17, 22-20 in a match that saw the Indian play catch-up in the business end of the third game after her opponent clinched four straight points from 13-16 to take a one-point lead. Aakarshi saved a match point at 19-20 and then bagged two consecutive points to set up a second-round clash against Chinese Taipei’s Lin Sih Yun, it said.

Advancing to the next round were women’s singles Indian duo Ira Sharma and Tanya Hemanth, who defeated their more illustrious Malaysian opponents. Ira came from a game down to beat Wong Ling Ching, ranked 63 placed above Ira, 17-21, 21-17, 21-12 while Tanya got the better of top Malaysian star Kisona Selvaduray 21-16, 15-21, 21-16 to reach the round of 16. Ira will now face another Malaysian Karupathevan Letshanaa while Tanya takes on compatriot Malvika Bansod for a place in the quarterfinals. Malvika had earlier defeated Uganda’s Fadilah Rafi 21-10, 21-10 in the earlier round, the release said.

Indian men’s national champion Mithun Manjunath and junior world championships bronze medalist from India Ayush Shetty registered contrasting wins to advance to the next round. Mithun, seeded 7th, defeated compatriot Hemanth Gowda 21-14, 21-10 in the second round while Ayush got the better of Indonesia’s Jason Alexander 21-12, 14-21, 21-17, it added.

Later in the day, Indian women’s singles national champion Anupama Upadhyaya advanced to the pre-quarters with a 21-11, 21-16 win over Bilqis Prasista of Indonesia. However, the marquee match of the day was the clash of a face-off between two players from different generations and different styles, and it was the 29-year-old Sameer, who came on top with flying colours, it said. 

The former world no. 11, who has now slipped to 91 and is playing in only his ninth event in the last 12 months, was slow to get off the blocks and trailed Kiran 1-5 in the opening game, but he clawed his way back to level the score at 10-10 and won eight of the nine points from 13-12 to draw first blood. He was much more clinical in the second game, racing to an 8-3 lead. Though Kiran tried to fight back and won five consecutive points at one stage to close the gap at 15-11, it was too little too late, the release further said.

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