Last year, D.S. Saneeth had lost to Sankar Muthusamy in a junior tournament final in Russia. But that loss offered Saneeth plenty of lessons when he took on the top-seeded Sankar in the Yonex Sunrise South Zone inter-State badminton championships at the St. Peter’s Sports Academy here on Wednesday. In the end, he shocked Sankar 7-21, 22-20, 23-21 and entered the men’s final.
Sankar, the junior World No. 3, is a defensive player and thrives on long rallies but on Wednesday Saneeth was ready for it. The 19-year-old, coached by former National champion Arvind Bhat in Bengaluru, engaged Sankar in long rallies, waiting for him to commit mistakes.
“That final in Russia taught me how to handle Sankar, taught me to play long rallies, to stay calm,” said Saneeth.
Saneeth will play his Karnataka Statemate Ayush Shetty in Thursday’s final.
The women’s final, between Rujula Ramu and Drithi Yatheesh, and the junior boys’ title clash – between Ayush Shetty and Tushar Suveer — will also be all-Karnataka affairs. And in the junior girls final, AP’s Akansha Matte will meet V.D. Meithini.
The results (singles): Men: Semifinals: D.S. Saneeth (Kar) bt S. Sankar Muthusamy (TN) 7-21, 22-20, 23-21; Ayush Shetty (Kar) bt Siddhanth Gupta (TN) 22-20 (retd).
Quarterfinals: Sankar bt Jacob Thomas 21-15, 21-14; Saneeth bt D. Sarath 21-23, 21-7, 21-15; Ayush bt Tarun Reddy 21-10, 14-21, 21-14; Siddhanth bt K. Govind 10-21, 21-18, 21-15.
Women: Semifinals: Rujula Ramu (Kar) bt Andrea Sarah Kurien (Ker) 21-17, 21-9; Drithi Yatheesh (Kar) bt T.R. Gowrikrishna (Ker) 21-18, 21-13.
Quarterfinals: Rujula bt Shravya Dande 21-9, 21-16; Andrea bt Rashmitha Donepudi 19-21, 21-10, 27-25; Drithi bt Rakshitha Sree 21-18, 4-0 (retd); Gowrikrishna bt Prashansa Bonam 21-17, 21-23, 21-15.
Under-19: Boys: Semifinals: Ayush Shetty (Kar) bt S. Akshit (Ker) 21-9, 21-13; Tushar Suveer (Kar) bt Bharath Latheesh (Ker) 14-21, 22-20, 21-10.
Quarterfinals: Ayush bt Numair Shaik 21-15, 21-8; Akshit bt S. Hemachandran 19-21, 21-19, 21-19; Bharath bt R. Anishraj 0-22, 21-19, 21-13; Tushar bt Rushendra Thirupathi 19-21, 21-19, 21-13.
Girls: Semifinals: Akanksha Matte (AP) bt Nazrin Farza (Ker) 21-11, 21-10; V.D. Methini (TN) bt Rashmitha Donepudi (AP) 21-18, 21-16.
Quarterfinals: Nazrin w/o Neysa Cariappa; Akanksha bt Tanvi 21-13, 22-20; Methini bt A. Bhonsle Driti 21-3, 21-10; Rashmitha bt D. R. Akshitha 21-23, 21-18, 21-12.