Former national champion B Sai Praneeth of Telangana will face Karnataka’s Mithun Manjunath in the Men’s Singles badminton final of the 36th National Games here on Thursday.
Top-seed Malvika Bansod of Maharashtra will take on second-seed Aakarshi Kashyap of Chhattisgarh in the Women’s Singles summit clash, offering a potentially exciting encounter.
In the Men’s semifinals, played at the PDDU Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday, Sai Praneeth downed M Raghu of Karnataka 21-12, 21-19 while Mithun was clearly the dominant player in his 21-9, 21-11 victory over Gujarat’s Aryamann Tandon.
“I felt happy with the way I played my strokes. They came off nicely," Sai Praneeth said, after his victory.
Aryamann Tandon, who became the first Gujarat badminton player to win a National Games medal, could not find a way past Mithun on Wednesday.
“I had no answers to his shots," admitted Aryamann, who has trained with Mithun at the Prakash Padukone Academy in the past. “I knew his game. I was confident and I had decided to play an attacking game from the start. I had prepared for this match. But nothing worked."
In the Women’s final, Malvika Bansod was once again pushed to the brink, this time by Aditi Bhatt of Uttarakhand. However, the top seed banked on her experience to put behind her second game reversal to win 21-10, 19-21, 21-13.
Aakarshi Kashyap had a far easier outing as she trounced Karnataka’s Tanya Hemanth 21-9, 21-15.
The other big players involved in semifinal action were Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy who recently stopped playing women’s doubles together.
Ashwini Ponnapa, who is partnering K Sai Prateek in Mixed Doubles, beat Tamil Nadu’s Hariharan Amsakarunam and V.R Nardhana in an absorbing contest 23-21, 13-21, 21-19.
“I was little rusty in my game. We were playing for the first time in a big tournament and it took some time to settle down. I made some silly mistakes but Prateek came up with some good smashes. I was impressed with his game. We need these types of matches to become stronger in future tournaments," said the 33-year-old Ashwini.
The Karnataka pair will take on the Delhi duo of Rohan Kapoor and Kanika Kanwal, who defeated S Sanjith and TR Gowrikrishnan (Kerala) 24-22, 21-18.
Playing for the first time in a big tournament with Gayatri Gopichand, left-handed Sikki had to adjust her game with her partner in Women’s Doubles. “We never played together in a big match. She had never partnered a left-hander either but we jelled nicely," said Sikki after routing the Delhi pair of Kavya Gupta and Khushi Gupta 21-16, 21-17.
In the final, the Telangana duo will meet Shikha Gautam and Ashwini Bhat (Karnataka), who defeated Kerala’s Mahreen Riza and Arathi Sara Sunil 23-21, 21-11.
The Men’s Doubles final will be between PS Ravikrishna and Shankar Prasad Udaykumar of Karnataka and Hariharan Amsakarunan and Ruban Kumar of Tamil Nadu.
Men’s Singles (semifinals): B Sai Praneeth (Telangana) beat M Raghu (Karnataka) 21-12, 21-19; M Mithun (Karnataka) beat Aryamann Tandon (Gujarat) 21-9, 11-21.
Women’s Singles (semifinals): Malvika Bansod (Maharashtra) beat Aditi Bhatt (Uttarakhand) 21-10, 19-21, 21-13; Aakarshi Kashyap (Chhattisgarh) beat Tanya Hemanth (Karnataka) 21-9, 21-15.
Women’s Doubles (semifinals): Sikki Reddy and Gayatri Gopichand Pullela (Telangana) bt Kavya Gupta and Khushi Gupta (Delhi) 21-16, 21-17; Shikha Gautam and Ashwini Bhat (Karnataka) beat Mahreen Riza and Arathi Sara Sunil (Kerala) 23-21, 21-11.
Men’s Doubles (semifinals): PS Ravikrishna and Sankarprasad Udayakumar (Kerala) beat HV Nithin and Vaibhaav (Karnataka) 21-17, 21-14; Hariharan Amsakarunan and Ruban Kumar (Tamil Nadu) beat Shyam Prasad and S Sunjith (Kerala) 21-19, 21-16
Mixed Doubles (semifinals): Sai Pratheek and Ashwini Ponnappa (Karnataka) beat Hariharan Amsakarunan and VR Nardhana (Tamil Nadu) 23-21, 13-21, 21-19; Rohan Kapoor and Kanika Kanwal (Delhi) beat S Sunjith and TR Gowrikrishna (Kerala) 24-22, 21-18.