Virmani loses; Sagarika, Srushti in semis of Cadet girls

PTI| Updated: Oct 19, 2013, 19:32 PM IST

Mumbai: India junior Sabhya Virmani stretched favourite Wang Yuhao of China in a hard-fought battle before going down 11-6, 3-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-13, 11-7, 12-10 in the junior boys pre-quarterfinals of the USD 8000 India Junior and Cadet Open table tennis championships here on Saturday.

In cadet girls quarterfinals, the sub junior national champion and second seed Sagarika Mukherjee faced a stiff challenge from a spirited Aishwarya Pathak before prevailing 3-1 in the all-India contest at the NSCI-Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium.

While Srushti Haleangadi beat compatriot Moumita Dutta to enter the semifinals of the Cadet Girls.

In cadet boys` category, top seed Anirban Ghosh rallied from 1-2 to beat Ayush Tayal 8-11, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7 in another thriller, which included winning the crucial fourth over extra points.

In a contest that went down to the wire, ranked fourth Virmani played his heart out while surging to a 3-2 lead. After trailing 1-2, the 17-year-old Indian stepped up the pace to snatch the fourth and fifth games in the best of seven contest, including winning the latter over extra points.

But Wang battled back and changed his strategy in the decider, which could have gone either way. It finally ended in a nail-biting finish with the Chinese having the last laugh.

Wang, the lone Chinese to survive in the category, set up a mouth-watering quarterfinal with India junior No. 1 Abhishek Yadav.

Meanwhile, Mukherjee rallied from a 0-5 deficit in the opening game to surge to a 2-0 lead with both games stretching over extra points. Pathak won the third but her challenge fizzled out in the next.

"Aishwarya played very well in the first two games. My concentration wavered before I altered my serves to force her into errors," said 15-year-old Mukherjee. "Overall, I am happy with my performance so far but I will still try to improve my game."

The 13-year-old Haleangadi registered an exciting 3-1 win over El Salvador gold medallist Moumita, snatching three games at 11-9 in an intense battle.

The semi-finals and finals of the championship will be telecast live on Doordarshan on Sunday.