Shuttler Arun saves six match points to reach Jr. Nationals final

Chandigrah: Third seed Arun George of Kerala saved six match points before upsetting top seed and defending champion Harsheel Dani of Air India to reach the U-19 singles final in the 38th Junior National Badminton championship here Wednesday.

Arun, who had staged a similar comeback in the pre-quarterfinals Tuesday, made the most of the next exchanges in the business end of the match to win the 48 minute encounter 17-21, 21-16, 25-23.

Till that comeback, Arun looked out of sorts after taking a medical break while trailing 15-19 in the decider but showed the tenacity and presence of mind to hang in and force his opponent to play a pattern that benefited him in the final analysis.

He first saved four straight match points to level the score at 20-all and then wasted one match point himself at 23-22 before Dani pushed his net lift out to trigger a wild celebration from the player and his coaching staff.

Arun will now face second seed and Shushant Chippalkati junior international champion Aditya Joshi of Air India who rallied from a disastrous first game to beat fourth seed Arsalan Naqvi of 11-21, 21-12, 21-16.

In the girls section, defending junior national champion Ruthvika Shivani stayed on course for a double crown after reaching the u-17 and u-19 finals. In the u-17 semifinal, the Gopichand Academy trainee ended the dream run of Maharashtra qualifier Mrunmayi Saoji 21-7, 21-13 and then came back to defeat second seed Reshma Karthik of Karnataka 21-9, 21-13.

Ruthvika will now face top seed Karishma Wadkar of Maharashtra in the u-17 final. Wadkar, who trains in the Shuttlecraze badminton academy, staved off a late comeback from Karnataka’s Shikha Gautam 21-11, 22-20 to reach her maiden national final.

The U-19 girls will see Ruthvika taking on Rituparna Das, who defeated Maharashtra’s Rasika Raje 21-12, 21-13.