NAGPUR: Kaushal Dharmamer produced a scintillating display to upset RMG Gurusaidutt but his outstanding victory failed to inspire Maharashtra as the hosts crashed out in the semifinals of the 73rd Inter State Inter Zonal Badminton Championships at the Divisional Sports Com plex in Mankapur here on Thursday.
Beating the defending champions and title favourites Petroleum Sports Promotional Board (PSPB) needed a special effort but except Dharmamer none of the Maharashtra players rose to the occasion and suffered a 1-3 defeat. PSPB will now clash with Madhya Pradesh to defend their title on Friday. The West Zone champions also recorded a similar 3-1 win against Manipur in the other semifinal.
Dharmamer did no harm to his growing reputation when he outlasted former world No. 19 Gurusaidutt. The 21-year-old from Mumbai shuttler notched up a 21-14, 20-22, 21-11 against former Commonwealth Games bronze medallist to level the tie scores 1-1 and providing a ray of home to the hosts.
However, PSPB shattered the hopes of home team by racing to win in the next two matches. G Ruthvika Shivani proved too fast for veteran Neha Pandit en route to her 21-12, 21-15 win to regain the lead for PSPB. Manu Attri and Pranaav Jerry Chopra then sealed the issue in PSPB’s favour by trouncing Akshay Dewalkar and Prasad Shetty also in straight games.
It was Attri’s second win of the rubber. The Rio Olympian and N Sikki Reddy dismissed Dewalkar and Sanjana Santosh 21-16, 21-14 in the first match of the semis.
However, the first day belonged to MP. They first shocked last year’s runner-up Airports Authority of India (AAI) 3-2 in the quarterfinal and then overpowered Manipur quite convincingly later in the evening.
MP youngsters Shubham Prajapati, Shriyanshi Pardeshi and Khushboo Patel combined well to help their team reach the maiden final.
In the other three quarterfinals held in the morning, PSPB thrashed Andhra 3-0, Manipur downed Haryana 3-1, while hosts edged out Uttar Pradesh 3-2.