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Veteran paddler Sharath Kamal retired from his last-eight clash due to back pain while top seeds G Sathiyan and Manika Batra moved to the semifinals of their respective events at the National Games in Surat on Friday. (More Sports News)
Sharath was leading two sets to one and 6-1 in the fourth set against Haryana’s Soumyajit Ghosh when he called for medical attention and then decided to retire after a few minutes of treatment.
Sathiyan, on the other hand, quelled the challenge of local paddler Manav Thakkar 4-1 in a fast-paced encounter.
Though Thakkar kept pace with the top seeds’ style of play, he wasn’t able to crack his defence when it mattered the most as Sathiyan won 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 14-12, 13-11.
Sathiyan will now face Harmeet Desai, who thrashed Deepit Patil 4-0.
The other Gujarat paddler to make it to the semifinals was Manush Shah, who got the better of FR Snehit.
The southpaw looked down and out in the opening two sets as he struggled for rhythm and accuracy. But once he regrouped, the strokes began to flow and he turned the tables on his opponent to win 4-2.
Earlier, top seed Batra and second seed Sreeja Akula registered convincing wins over their respective opponents to book their semifinal berths.
Batra beat Krittwika Sinha Roy 4-2, while Sreeja won in straight games (4-0) against Ayhika Mukherjee.
Reethrishya Tennison was the only player among the top four seeds to miss out on the semifinal berth after she was knocked out by the experienced Sutirtha Mukherjee in the quarters.
Sutirtha, who represented India at the Tokyo Olympics, also avenged her loss to the fourth seeded Reeth in the team events by clinching the last eight round encounter 3-1.
It looked like third seed Diya Chitale may also join her statement on the sidelines as she was pushed to the brink by Haryana’s Suhana Saini.
Both players engaged in many fast-paced rallies through-out their seven-set encounter in which no player ever managed a two-set lead at any stage.
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