Balamurugan wins back-to-back title, Hardee gets his first

Balamurugan wins back-to-back title, Hardee gets his firstPondicherry: Balamurugan Muthu of Tamil Nadu defeated Priyanuj Bhattacharyya of Assam 4-1 to claim his back-to-back title in the Youth Boys Under-15 of the UTT National Ranking Championships (South Zone) at Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium.

The Youth Girls Under-15 crown went to Hardee Patil of Maharashtra as she defeated Sharvani Nagam 4-1, denying the Tamil Nadu girl a joint celebration with Balamurugan.

Balamurugan, who won the first title of the season in Dehradun, started well, and despite dropping the second, he bothered his opponent a lot. So dominant was he that he allowed Priyanuj a lone point in the third and sealed his fate shortly after.

Hardee, who won her maiden crown, also dropped her second game before overcoming opposition from the Tamil Nadu girl. However, it was the first game that set the ball in motion for the Maharashtra paddler. But in the next, Sharvani stuck to unforced errors from his rival and could do nothing further as Hardee went from strength to strength. The U-15 boys ‘and girls’ semifinals aroused interest with the paddlers making a fantastic match show. When it looked like a one-sided affair between top-seeded Balamurugan and Kushal Chopda, where Balamurugan led 3-0, Kushal started himself to pull two back. But the fighting Tamil Nadu boy seized moments when his Maharashtra rival did poorly to take the sixth and go into the final.

Assams Priyanuj, on the other hand, let Divyaj Roy, a TTFI wildcard, take charge after a good opening. But the latter failed to push the advantage home and lost the initiative to Divyaj as he threw himself over the chances of sweeping through in the next three matches.

Tamil Nadus Sharvani Nagam played excellent and led over the winner of the previous tournament in Dehradun, Sandika Bhattacharjee. But the top seed returned to win the third and fifth fights to throw a few fake strokes. The attentive Sharvani was ready for the task and without wasting time finished the match in the sixth.

Hardee Patel of Maharashtra defeated Sayani Panda, 4-1 in the second semifinal. The girl from Kolkata’s National Center of Excellence managed to win the third match but could not hold out against Hardee.


Youth Boys U-15 Singles: Finale: Balamurugan Muthu (TNTTA) bt Priyanuj Bhattacharyya 11-7, 13-15, 11-1, 13-11, 11-5.

Semifinals: Balamurugan Muthu bt Kushal Chopda (Mah) 11-9, 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 11-8; Priyanuj Bhattacharyya from Divyaj Roy (TTFI) 11-6, 8-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6, 14-12.

Quarterfinals: Balamurugan Muthu bt Oishik Ghosh (Ben) 11-8, 11-3, 9-11, 12-10; Kushal Chopda bt Aashay Yadav (Mah) 11-7, 11-9, 11-5; Divyaj Roy bt Saikat Sutradahar (Har) 11-8, 11-5, 10-12, 11-8; Priyanuj Bhattacharya bt. Neil Mulye (Mah) 15-13, 11-7, 11-8.

Youth Girls U-15 Singles: Finals: Hardee Patel (Mah) bt Sharvani Nagam (TTTA) 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5.

Semifinals: Sharvani Nagam bt Sandika Bhattacharjee (Ben) 12-10, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9; Hardee Patel from Sayani Panda (NCOE) 11-4, 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10.

Quarterfinals: Sandika Bhattacharjee bt. M. Hansini (TNTTA) 13-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9; Sharvani Nagam bt Prisha Goel (Del0 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9; Sayani Panda bt Nandini Saha (Ben) 11-6, 11-7, 11-4; Hardee Patel bt Jennifer Varghese (Mah )) 11-8, 11-8, 11-7.


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