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Top seed Gayatri crashes out in junior badminton semis

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Top seed P. Gayatri Gopichand of Telangana crashed out of the All India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament, losing squarely to 16th seed Aashi Rawat of Delhi in a dramatic girl's semifinal upset on Saturday.
 
Tamil Nadu too suffered a big setback, with No. 4 seed Satish Kumar crumbling against No. 2 seed Maisnam Meiraba from Manipur in the boys' section.
 
The till now flawless Gayatri, the daughter of India coach Pullela Gopichand, turned error-prone in the semi-final as she found a worthy challenger in Aashi. She edged into the lead but saw Aashi recover ground at 6-6. The momentum shifted at that stage with Aashi jumping ahead at 10-9 before taking a 13-11 lead.
 
The mistakes, however, continued to flow which Aashi exploited to the hilt, taking a strong 18-14 lead that proved to be good enough for a 21-15 victory in the opener.
 
Aashi was on a roll in the second game, racing to a 15-7 lead. She didn't concede a single point after that for a well-deserved place in the final.
 
Aashi now awaits the winner of the second semi-final between Tamil Nadu's Akshaya Arumugam and Samiya Imad Farooqui of Telangana, both unseeded.
 
Local lad Satish Kumar too found himself out of depth against No. 2 seed Maisnam Meiraba, losing 13-21, 11-21 in 50 minutes. He fell behind early in both the games and failed to come up with any strategy to regain a toehold in the contest.
 
He yielded an early 2-6 lead in the first game which became 4-8 and 9-16 pretty quickly. The second game too followed the same pattern. He went down 2-5 and couldn't recover any ground to lose 11-21.
 
Sathish, however, gave a glimpse of his talent and temperament in the morning, getting the better of ninth seed Sarath D of Andhra Pradesh. He was trailing after the first game (10-21) but he recovered enough to make it look like an easy win, taking the next two games 21-16, 21-12.
 
IANS

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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