Mumbai: After winning his Men’s match comfortably yesterday, Rahul Baitha of Maharashtra started his U-19 campaign with a thumping victory defeating unseeded Ashwin Krishnan 11-2, 11-3, 11-1 to advance to the Boys U-19 quarterfinals of the Otters Club Squash Open Squash Tournament 2019 co-sponsored by Mahindra Rise and played at the Otters Club Squash Courts on Wednesday.
Rahul, who is competing in both Men’s open and Boy’s U-19 categories is on a roll. After entering the round of 16 in the Men’s earlier in the day, Rahul came back to face unseeded Ashwin who had done well in the tournament so far defeating 9th seed Sidharth Kumar in an epic 5 game thriller to reach the pre-quarters.
Unfortunately, Ashwin could not match the speed and skill of top seed Rahul, who ended his dream run completely dominating Ashwin on his way to an 11-2, 11-3, 11-1 straight games victory to advance to the quarterfinals.
In another match, Shlok Makhija of Maharashtra suffered the same fate as Ashwin in the hands of 2nd seed Tushar Shahani. Tushar, who is also eying dual titles finished off his game in under 30 minutes defeating Shlok 11-3, 11-3, 11-4 on his way to the quarterfinals.
In the Women's Pre-quarters, 2nd Seed Sachika Balvani survived a scare to edge past unseeded Amita Gondi and advance to the quarterfinals. Amita played with a lot of heart and kept her nerves to clinch the first game 12-10 but Sachika recovered quickly to take the 2nd set 11-6 and level the scores.
There was nothing separating the two and with Amita taking the 3rd game and Sachika bouncing back to take the 4th the match went to a decider.
The final game was anti-climatic as Sachika really stepped up her performance to take the 5th game 11-3 and the match by 10-12, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10, 11-3 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Results: Boy’s U-19 Pre- Quarters: Rahul Baitha  bt Ashwin Krishnan 11-2 11-3 11-1; Diwakar Singh [5/8] bt Deepak Mandal [9/16] 11-6 11-6 11-7; Tarun Mammen [9/16] bt Laxman Sakharam Pokale 11-7 11-8 11-4; Suraj Chand [3/4] bt Krish Shah [9/16] 11-7 11-9 11-7; Advait Adik [9/16] bt Shloke Sahay [5/8] 11-3 11-1 11-4; Tushar Shahani  bt Shlok Makhija [9/16] 11-3 11-3 11-4
Women’s Pre-Quaters: Aakanksha Rao [5/8] bt Bijali Darvada 11-5 11-3 11-6; Avani Nagar Sanika Choudhari [3/4]; Aparajitha Balamurukan [3/4] bt Aditi Mehta 11-3 11-0 11-1;Nikita Agarwal [5/8] bt Ankita Patil 12-10 11-7 11-4 ; Sachika Balvani  bt Amita Gondi 10-12 11-6 8-11 12-10 11-3