Meiraba Luwang cruises, top seed Varun Kapur crashes

Pune: The top two seeds in boys’ singles, Varun Kapur and Meiraba Luwang had contrasting fortunes as the main draw in singles got under way at Yonex Sunrise India Junior International Grand Prix 2019, held in memory of Sushant Chipalkatti at the P E Society’s Modern PDMBA Sports Complex, here on Friday.

While the in-form Meiraba made it to the quarter-finals of the only Grand Prix event to be played in India, Kapur had to bite the dust in the first round.

Thailand’s Varot Uraiwong did not let the 49 places gulf between him and Junior World No. 9 Varun Kapur matter when he knocked out the top seed and title favourite in the opening round. Having dropped the opening game, the young Thai stormed back to stun Kapur with a 14-21, 22-20, 21-15 win.

Second seed Meiraba Luwang of Manipur faced no such problems and easily won his first couple of rounds. The Russian Junior White Nights champion first beat Malaysia’s M Fazriq Mohamad Razif 21-12, 21-13 and then followed it up with a convincing 21-15, 21-12 victory over Thailand’s Puritat Arree, who had earlier ended the run of qualifier Pranav Rao Gandham, 21-16, 17-21, 21-19.

Qualifier Ayush Raj Gupta began his campaign with a fantastic 21-14, 21-13 win over higher-ranked Sai Charan Koya but his challenge was cut short in the next round by Thailand’s fifth seed Woraphop Chuenkha in a 21-14, 21-13 win.

Gujarat’s bright girls’ singles talent, Tasnim Mir displayed her skills in a 12-21, 21-8, 21-14 defeat of former U-15 Asian Championships gold medallist Samiya Imad Farooqui.

However, she was shown the door in the next round by fifth seed Miyu Takahashi in a gritty 21-17, 18-21, 18-21 loss. Kerala girl Treesa Jolly, seeded eighth at this tournament, lived up to the expectations when she notched up two wins to enter the quarter-finals. J

olly first dismissed qualifier Riya Kunjir 22-20, 210-17 and then emerged a 14-21, 21-10, 22-20 winner in a hard-fought match against Thailand’s Thamonwan Nithiittikrai.

Asian Junior Championships bronze medallist and top seed Benyapa Aimsaard raced into the last-eight stage with a couple of dominant wins. Living up to her billing, the Thai blitzed past India’s Kaivalya Lakshmi Yadavalli 21-11, 21-5 and then secured an effortless 21-14, 21-10 victory over local hope Mansi Singh.

Aimsaard’s compatriot, the fourth-seeded Pornpicha Choeikeewong, another consistent performer on the international junior circuit, also made it to the quarters.

India’s promising junior mixed doubles pair of Tanisha Crasto and Ishaan Bhatnagar, who had come to this tournament with a rich vein of form, toppled the eighth seeds Edwin Joy and Shruti Mishra 21-14, 21-16 to book their quarter-final berth. The pair had won Junior Ranking Tournaments in Panchkula and Bangalore over the last two weeks.

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