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No stopping Akshaya, stuns third seed Sanchika to enter semis

Former national champion and No.2 Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu suffers groin strain in men’s quarterfinal match while top seed Abhay Singh bites the dust.

There was no stopping Akshaya Sri who stunned No. 3 Sanchika Balvani in the quarterfinals of the HCL-SRFI Indian tour-Chennai leg 3, a PSA Challenger Tour-10 event, at the Indian Squash Academy, Chennai on Tuesday.

The city girl continued from where she left on the first day while scalping Radhika Rathore in the first round and sixth-seeded Sanika Choudhari in the second round to enter the quarterfinals.

Akshaya pummelled Sanchika with cross court shots and backhands which left unanswered in the first set. In the second, the 16-year-old took an early lead of 8-3 but all Sanchika could do was to reduce the margin and in the third, it was Akshay all the way and wrapped the match 11-9, 11-8, 11-2 in 20 minutes.

Akshaya, a trainee of the ISA, will take on No.1 Sunayana Kuruvilla for a place in the final.

In a well contested quarterfinal match Sunayana conceded one set against Urwashi Joshi, the fifth seed from Maharashtra 17-15, 11-6, 11-13, 11-5 which saw leads changing hands several times. Urwashi too was unlucky when a couple of calls went against at crucial times.

Second seed Tanvi Khnna and fourth seed Aparajitha Balamurukanscored comfortable wins over their quarterfinal rivals.

The much awaited quarterfinal match between former national champion Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu and fifth-seeded Velavan Senthilkumar lasted mere three minutes. The second seed gave up when he was trailing 4-9 due to a groin strain.

In the semis, Velavan will take on fourth-seeded Abhishek Agarwal who put out wild card entrant Kanhav Nanavati 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 in 26 minute.

Sixth seeded Abhishek Pradan upset top seed Abhay Singh who seemed to be completely off-colour and went down without a fight 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 in 24 minutes and will meet seventh seeded Rahul Baitha who got the better of third sees seeded Aadit Zaveri.

WOMEN

Semifinal lineup: 1-Sunayna Kuruvilla vs Akshaya Sri, 4-Aparajitha Balamurukan vs 2-Tanvi Khanna

QFs scores: Akshaya Sri (IND) bt 3-Sachika Balvani 11-9, 11-8, 11-2; 1- Sunayna Kuruvilla bt 5-Urwashi Joshi 17-15, 11-6, 11-13, 11-5; 4-Aparajitha Balamurukan bt 8- Abhisheka Shannon 13-11, 11-7, 11-7; 2-Tanvi Khanna bt 7-Janet Vidhi 11-4, 11-4, 11-6

MEN

SF lineup: 5-Velavan Senthilkumar vs 4-Abhishek Agarwal, 7-Rahul Baitha vs 6-Abhishek Pradhan

QFS scores: 4-Abhishek Agarwal bt Kanhav Nanavati 11-7, 11-5, 11-5, 5-Velavan Senthilkumar bt 2-Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu 9-4 retired; 7-Rahul Baitha bt 3-Aadit Zaveri 11-7, 11-6, 11-1; 6-Abhishek Pradhan bt 1-Abhay Singh 11-8, 11-6, 11-6

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