Vidhi A. Shah shocks top seed Anusha Kutumbale

SILIGURI: Vidhi Ameet Shah changed the fate of Anusha Kutumbale in a matter of few minutes in the decider to send the top-seed packing in the Sub-Junior Girls singles pre-quarterfinals in the ongoing 11Even Sports 78th Cadet and Sub-Junior Nationals underway at the SMC Stadium here on Monday.

The unseeded Maharashtra girl won 3-2 (11-13, 11-5, 5-11 11-9, 16-14) on her third match point to enter her maiden quarterfinals. In other pre-quarterfinal matches in the sections, the other three seeds—Swastika Ghosh, Tanishi Kirtani and Vanshika Bhargava—went through the motions to take their place in the last eight stages.

But there was no such upset in the Cadet Boys case as the top four seeds made their quarterfinal entry without any difficulty.

No doubt, Anusha was patchy on the day and missed even her normal strokes which only multiplied her problems. But the credit must go to the Maharashtra girl who, in her first national outing, showed her prowess and more than that a cool head when the situation warranted. For instance in the first game which she won after two deuces proved to be her success as the experienced Anusha was found wanting despite being in a roaring form this season.

There were several misses and hits during their match with fortunes fluctuating from one extreme to another as the two took alternative games to force into the decider. It was in the decider that the cool head of Vidhi came in handy as after four deuces—her opponent also missed two match-points—she held on to her nerves to win the match and progress into the quarterfinals.

Second-seeded Swastika Ghosh, also from Maharashtra, had it easy against Telangana’s Anjali Naineni winning her match 11-8, 11-3, 11-4, while Goa’s Tanisi Kirtani accounted for Maharashtra’s Aditi Sinha 11-6, 14-12, 9-11, 11-7 and Delhi’s Vanshika Bhargava easily beat Karnataka’s Anargya Manjunath 11-8, 11-8, 11-5. Dia Chitale, also of Maharashtra, beat Ayushi Ghia of Telangana 11-6, 11-9, 11-7.

Two Tamil Nadu girls—Nithyashree Mani and Sharmiitha Srinivasan—and Delhi’s Tamanna Gulshan along with Anubha Bajaj along with local girls Nikita Sarkar and Sammridhi Banik made it to the quarterfinals. West Bengal’s Poymantee Baisya, Munmun Kundu advanced while Mouli Modak, Angana Saha and Koushiki Dasgupta, also of West Bengal, bowed out.

Except for two matches in the Cadet Boys—Jash Modi vs Suhan Gulati of Punjab and Sridhar Joshi vs Arnav Aggarwal of Chandigarh—all other matches proved to be mere formalities.

Jash, despite having a 2-0 lead, erred on many an occasion in the third and fourth, particularly, to lose the advantage as the Punjab boy seized the opportunity to get under the skin of his rival. But Jash played truly well in the decider to shut Suhan out 11-5, 12-10, 5-11, 10-12, 11-7.

In the adjacent table, UP’s Sridhar Joshi was probably watching what was happening to Jash and he followed suit with a 2-0 lead and then lost the next two, more or less, in the same fashion as did the Maharashtra boy before summoning up his reserve to win 12-10, 11-6, 12-14, 9-11, 11-9 to enter the quarterfinals.

The pre-quarterfinals in both the Sub-Junior Boys and Cadet Girls are in progress as on the last day tomorrow three rounds of matches will take place beginning from quarterfinals. However, the doubles finals in the Sub-Junior sections will be completed tonight.