BAI National selection trials: Sai Praneeth gets past Sourabh Verma

Top seed B. Sai Praneeth beats Sourabh Verma in three games, tops Group A after the second league stage; Kartikay Kumar, Priyanshu Rajawat register wins in Group B.

B. Sai Praneeth.   -  REUTERS

Top seed B. Sai Praneeth downed Sourabh Verma 14-21, 21-15, 21-13 to cross a major hurdle on his way to top the four-man Group A in the second stage league of the BAI National selection trials at the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex here on Saturday.

Kiran George defeated Ansal Yadav 21-10, 21-9 to stay in contention for the top place in the group.

With 16 players - two from eight groups in the preliminary league stage - making it to the second stage, the group topped from each of the four groups will battle it out for honours. The runner-up from each group will be involved in playoffs for 5-8 places and the third-placed player from each group will play a league for 9-12 places.

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In Group B, Kartikay Gulshan Kumar and Priyanshu Rajawat won their opening matches to stay in the hunt for the top spot. Action from Group C saw Alap Mishra win as expected, 21-11, 21-13, against Arjun Rehani but Ravi’s 21-19, 21-10 victory over the experienced Shreyansh Jaiswal was a bit of a surprise.

Sameer Verma, after the reverse in the first round of the preliminary league, bounced right back to qualify for the second stage and win 21-14, 21-10 against Mithun Manjunath. M. Raghu defeated Maisnam Meiraba 21-14, 12-21, 21-17 to emerge as the challenger for Verma in Group D.

Wins for Kashyap, Bansod

In the women’s section, top seed Akarshi Kashyap dropped a game to Tania Hemanth before winning 21-18, 12-21, 21-14 in the three-player Group A. Similarly, Malvika Bansod made a winning start in Group B by dismissing M. Nivetha 21-12, 21-16.

Aditi Bhatt continued her impressive form by getting past S. Kavipriya 21-14, 21-11 in Group C. Unnati Hooda stayed in contention for the top spot in Group D following a 20-22, 21-17, 21-9 triumph over Tara Shah.

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