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Badminton tournament: Mahajan, Shivani enter semi-finals

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Mumbai (Dec. 12, 2014): Akshit Mahajan today stunned second seed Sourabh Varma in three games to enter the semi-finals of the men's singles competition in the Tata Open India International Challenge badminton tournament here.

Mahajan, from Punjab who had made it to the quarterfinals of the Li Ning Bahrain challenge last month, shut out his more fancied rival 21-17 13-21 21-19 in 55 minutes at the Cricket Club of India to earn a meeting with fourth seed R M V Gurusaidutt for a place in the final.

The other semi-final would be fought by top seed H S Prannoy and sixth seed Ajay Jayaram. The former prevailed in three games against eighth seed Subhankar Dey in just over an hour, while the latter ousted third seed B Sai Praneeth in straight games in a 37-minute quarter-final encounter.

Unseeded Shivani Gadde made the semi-finals in the women's singles by overcoming Rituparna Das in the quarter- finals and would meet third seed Salil Rane for a slot in the title clash.

The other semi-final would be between top seed P C Thulasi and former national champion Arundhati Pantawane, seeded fourth.

Women's doubles top seeds Pradnya Gadre and N Sikki Reddy were upset 21-16 24-22 by Aparna Balan and Prajakta Sawant in the quarter-finals.

The results:

Men's singles (Quarter-finals): 1-H S Prannoy beat 8-Subhankar Dey 21-16 19-21 21-13; 6-Ajay Jayaram beat 3-B Sai Praneeth 21-19 21-15; 4-R M V Gurusaidutt w/o 7-Chetan Anand; Akshit Mahajan beat 2-Sourabh Varma 21-17 13-21 21-19.

Women's singles (Quarter-finals): 1-P C Thulasi beat Sara Naqvi 2-11 21-11; 4-Arundhati Pantawane beat Riya Pillai 21-10 21-14; 3-Salil Rane beat Richa Nikam 21-8 21-15; Shivani Gadde beat Rituparna Das 21-18 22-20.

Women's doubles (Quarter-finals): Aparna Balan/ Prajakta Sawant beat 1-Pradnya Gadre/N Sikki Reddy 21-16 24-22; Shruti Mandala/Rhea Pillai beat Daksha Gautam/Rachita Sahdev 21-10 21-10; J Meghna/K Manisha beat Varsha V Belawadi/ G M Nishchita 21-7 21-15.