Top seed P. Gayatri Gopichand of Telangana crashed out of the All India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament, losing squarely to 16th seed Aashi Rawat of Delhi in a dramatic girl's semifinal upset on Saturday.
The till now flawless Gayatri, the daughter of India coach Pullela Gopichand, turned error-prone in the semifinal as she found a worthy challenger in Aashi. She edged into the lead but saw Aashi recover ground at 6-6. The momentum shifted at that stage with Aashi jumping ahead at 10-9 before taking a 13-11 lead.
The mistakes, however, continued to flow which Aashi exploited to the hilt, taking a strong 18-14 lead that proved to be good enough for a 21-15 victory in the opener.
Aashi was on a roll in the second game, racing to a 15-7 lead. She didn't concede a single point after that for a well-deserved place in the final.
Aashi now awaits the winner of the second semifinal between Tamil Nadu's Akshaya Arumugam and Samiya Imad Farooqui of Telangana, both unseeded.
Local lad Satish Kumar too found himself out of depth against No. 2 seed Maisnam Meiraba, losing 13-21, 11-21 in 50 minutes. He fell behind early in both the games and failed to come up with any strategy to regain a toehold in the contest.
He yielded an early 2-6 lead in the first game which became 4-8 and 9-16 pretty quickly. The second game too followed the same pattern. He went down 2-5 and couldn't recover any ground to lose 11-21.
Sathish, however, gave a glimpse of his talent and temperament in the morning, getting the better of ninth seed Sarath D of Andhra Pradesh. He was trailing after the first game (10-21) but he recovered enough to make it look like an easy win, taking the next two games 21-16, 21-12.
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