Chetan leads Indians` march into main draw

New Delhi: Four-time national champion Chetan Anand led the Indian bandwagon into the main draw of the India Open Super Series badminton tournament on the qualifying day at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here on Tuesday.

Besides Chetan, the other three male shuttlers to have moved into the main draw are Subhankar Dey, Arvind Bhat and H S Prannoy.

The women`s singles qualifying round also saw all four Indians making it to the main draw.

Rituparna Das, Trupti Murgunde, G Ruthvika Shivani and Saili Rane won their respective first and second round qualification matches.

One of the biggest names in the qualifiers, Chetan had an easy first round match, but he had to struggle hard against Sameer Varma in the second round.

Having beaten Abhimanyu Singh 21-17 21-12 in the first round, Chetan fought a hard battle to prevail over Sameer 22-20 11-21 21-13 in 37 minutes to finally move into the main draw.

Chetan, who has been recovering from an ankle injury, relied on his smashes to get the better of his opponent.

"I am still not 100 per cent fit, but I am feeling good now. Last time I tried to come back a bit too early but my injury had relapsed. So this time I made sure that I recover and get back," said Chetan.

Chetan looked a bit rusty in the first game, while Sameer opened with a 2-0 lead and kept on increasing it to make it 11-8. But the veteran shuttler won four straight points to take a slender 12-11 edge.

He went on to make it 17-12 before Sameer once again won five consecutive points to level the scores 17-17 and then extend the lead to 20-17 to take it to the game point.

Chetan came from behind yet again to not just save three game points, but also ran away with an opening game victory 22-20, winning five points on the trot.

In the second game though, Chetan lost the plot completely and conceded it 11-21.

The third and deciding game saw Chetan taking an early lead to get to 5-2. Sameer tried to reduce the gap, but all through he was playing the catch-up game only. Finally, it turned out to be a comfortable win for Chetan.

Had Sameer won his second qualifying match, he would have played his brother Sourav Varma in the first round of the men's singles event.

In other men's qualifying matches, Subhankar beat Oscar Bansal 21-23 21-10 21-16, while Arvind defeated Aditya Prakash 20-22 2114 21-18 and Anup Sridhar lost to Prannoy 17-21 14-21.

In the women's qualification, Rituparna got the better of Mohita Sahdev 21-16 21-11 and Trupti defeated Anastasia Chervaykova of Russia 21-19 21-19.

Shivani outplayed Varsha V Belawadi 21-11 21-11, while Saili beat Jacqueline Rose Kunnath 21-15 21-14.