Prajakta Sawant and Chirag Shetty played their part to perfection as the three doubles combination carried Airport Authority of India past Telangana 3-2, in four hours, for its maiden entry into the team final of the National badminton championship here on Wednesday.
After Petroleum duly took its place in the final, AAI stared at defeat after losing the two singles and trailing by a game in the men’s doubles. Chirag Shetty, who won the admiration of Chief coach P. Gopi Chand with his display, and his partner M. R. Arjun held their nerves on the big points and bounced right back to stop Rahul Yadav and Arjun Reddy 20-22, 21-11, 21-17 in 45 minutes and kept AAI alive in the contest.
Thereafter, Prajakta and J. K. Malavika rallied brilliantly following the loss of the first game and went on to overcome a 10-13 deficit in the decider to win in 55 minutes. With the tie locked at 2-2, there was a 20-minute rest period for
Prajakta, who was lined up to play back-to-back matches. She joined hands with Chirag to script a narrow 21-19, 21-19 victory by converting the fourth tie-point. Earlier in the quarterfinals, Petroleum was expectedly tested by
Maharashtra but the 3-0 margin does not reflect the closeness of the contest.
Team championship: Semifinals: Petroleum beat Haryana 3-0 (B. Sai Praneeth bt Aman Kumar 21-10, 21-16; Rituparna Das bt Shivani Singh 21-8, 21-13; K. Tarun and Arun Vishnu bt Ketan Chahal and Saurabh Sharma 19-21, 21-6, 21-16). Airport Authority of India (AAI) beat Telangana 3-2 (Kusal Dharamamer lost to Siril Varma 15-21, 14-21; Rasika Raje lost to G. Vrushali 22-24, 14-21; M. R. Arjun and Chirag Shetty bt Rahul Yadav and Arjun Reddy 2022, 21-11, 21-17; Prajakta Sawant and J. K. Malavika bt G. Vrushali and Sri Krishna Priya 18-21, 21-17, 21-17; Prajakta Sawant and Chirag Shetty bt Sri Krishna Priya and Arjun Kumar Reddy 21-19, 21-19.)
Quarterfinals: Petroleum beat Maharashtra 3-0 (R. M. V. Gurusaidutt bt Harsheel Dani 25-23, 17-21, 21-18; G. Ruthvika Shivani bt Neha Pandit 21-12, 21-15; B. Sai Praneeth and Pranaav Chopra bt Akshay Dewalkar and Akshay Raut 21-17, 12-21, 21-17).
Haryana beat Chandigarh 3-1 (Ketan Chahal bt Oscar Bansal 22-24, 21-12, 21-17; Shivani Singh lost to Kailash 13-21, 23-21, 14-21; Ketan and Saurabh Sharma bt Sachin Garg and Varun Sharma 21-16, 21-16; Komal Antil and Lalita Dahiya bt Kailash and Kawaljeet Kaur 21-14, 21-16).
AAI beat Uttar Pradesh 3-1 (Pratul Joshi bt Arshalan Naqvi 21-19, 21-15; Rasika Raje lost to Riya Mookerjee 21-11, 10-21, 16-21; M. R. Arjun bt Chirag Shetty bt Shivam Sharma and Vinay Kumar Singh 21-8, 16-21, 21-12; J. K. Malvika and Prajakta Sawant bt Shruti Mishra and Samriddhi Singh 21-15, 21-6).
Telangana beat Assam 3-0 (Siril Varma bt Hirak Jyoti Neog 21-15, 21-12; G. Vrushali bt Chimran Kalita 21-10, 21-15; Rahul Yadav and Arjun Reddy bt Anjan Buragohain and Ranjan Buragohain 21-12, 21-14).