Rohan Gurbani takes Maharashtra’s best in stride to enter state badminton semis | Badminton News

NAGPUR: Rohan Gurbani regained his lost momentum on Tuesday. The 19-year-old made the most of the support of his home crowd, toppling top seed Arya Bhivpathaki’s applecart in a thrilling tie to secure his semi-final spot at the Nandu Natekar Memorial Maharashtra State Senior Badminton Championship at the Divisional Sports Complex in Mankapur .
After putting on a not-so-satisfactory show in recent tournaments, Rohan made sure to play a top game in his first senior state event in the men’s singles event. In the Quarterfinals against Maharashtra’s best singles shuttle, Rohan played perfectly with the plan to “end the game with hard smashes”.
Rohan’s strategy paid off as he didn’t give Arya time to calm down and won the thrilling quarterfinals 25-23, 24-22 in 45 minutes. After narrowly winning the first game 25-23, Rohan had four match points (20-16) and the local crowd of coaches and players behind him in the second. Rohan’s supporters endured some anxious moments as Arya equalized with four straight points. Rohan kept his cool in the dying phase, sealing Arya’s fate 24-22.
“That win today against Pune’s number 1 gave me a lot of confidence and will certainly help me get back on track. There were some long rallies and I had to finish the game with strong shots while picking up my pace. Luckily I was accurate with my shots,” Rohan told TOI.
He was assisted on the sidelines by his childhood coach Ajay Dayal. Dayal said of the thrilling victory: “Rohan seemed confident in all situations today. His attacking game helped him win the competition.”
RITIKA IN WOMEN, MIXED DOUBLE SF
City’s doubles specialist Ritika Thaker lived up to her reputation by earning two medals by qualifying for the women’s and mixed doubles semifinals. In the women’s doubles quarterfinals, Ritika and her Mumbai partner defeated Simran Singhi, Chaitali Nayse and Shruti Bhoir 21-13, 21-12. Later in the mixed doubles quarterfinals, fourth-seeded pairing Ritika and Deep Rambhiya beat duo Harsh Sharma and Ananya Durugkar 21-8, 21-12 in 23 minutes.
NIKKITA INSURES MAIDEN SENIOR MEDAL
17-year-old City Shuttle driver Nikkita Joseph and her Aurangabad partner Sonali Mirkhelkar did brilliantly in back-to-back marathon competitions to reach the women’s doubles semi-finals and grab the first senior medal.
In the quarterfinals, Nagpur-Aurangabad duo Nikkita and Sonali achieved a victory over Anagha Karandikar and Mahek Nayak 18:21, 21:16, 21:19. The exciting competition lasted 53 minutes.
Early in the afternoon, Nikkita and Sonali saved four match points (16-20) in the deciding set to defeat Aarti Chougale and Manali Parulekar 21-12, 15-21, 22-20 in the 47-minute contest.
Nikkita’s coach Chetak Khedikar said, “Today Nikkita and Sonali played two marathon games. Despite trailing 16-20 in the pre-quarterfinals, they recovered by scoring six straight points with an attacking play. Within a few hours they were in the quarterfinals, transitioning well from attacking play to strategic placement play with drop shots.”
RESULTS (all Quarterfinals)
SINGLES (MEN): 8-Rohan Gurbani bt 1-Arya Bhivpathaki 25-23, 24-22; Varun Kapur bt Pranay Shettigar 15-21, 21-11, 21-16; Darshan Pujari bt Wasim Shaikh 23-21, 21-12; Rahoul Kanne bt Aniket Bandgar 21-16, 21-16.
WOMEN: 1-Neha Pandit bt Rhucha Sawant 21-16, 21-13; 4-Vaidehi Choudhari bt Bhargavi Rambhad 21-10, 21-10; Aarti Chougale bt Krisha Soni 21-15, 21-17; 2-Purva Barve bt Prerana Alvekar 21-15, 18-21, 21-9.
LADIES DOUBLE: 1-Ritika Thaker-Simran Singhi bt Chaitali Nayse-Shruti Bhoir 21-13, 21-12; Purva Barve-Rhucha Sawant bt Saniya Tapkir-Yogita Salve 21-18, 25-27, 21-14; Nikkita Joseph-Sonali Mirkhelkar bt Anagha Karandikar-Mahek Nayak 18-21, 21-16, 21-19; 2-Akshaya Warang-Harika Veludurthi bt Anamika Singh-Mansee Kareker 21-12, 21-13.
MIXED DOUBLE
4-Deep Rambhiya-Ritika Thaker bt Harsh Sharma-Ananya Durugkar 21-8, 21-12; 1-Pratik Ranade-Akshaya Warang bt Arya Thakore-Mahek Nayak 21-18, 21-12; 3-Akshan Shetty-Simran Singhi bt Dhruv Thakore-Nikkita Joseph 21-13, 21-12; 2-Vighnesh Devlekar-Sanyogita Ghorpade bt Shubham Patil-Anagha Karandikar 21-13, 21-13.

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