Top seed Arshalan Naqvi (17) of Uttar Pradesh banked on his experience and some gamesmanship to get past No 10 seed Sahil Sipani of Karnataka in the boys U-17 quarter-finals match of the 2nd Gautam Thakkar Memorial Junior Masters badminton tournament at Bombay Gymkhana yesterday.
In his own admission, “tired of being made to run around by Sahil,” Arshalan indulged in frequent on-court interruptions to upset his opponent’s rhythm and win the encounter 23-25, 21-17, 21-12 in 55 minutes.
Arshalan, who hails from Uttar Pradesh interrupted the match thrice in the first set, four times in the second and another three in the final set (including an extended bathroom break) in a bid to affect Sahil’s momentum. And he managed to alter things in his favour, when at 15-15 in the second game he halted play once again.
On resumption, he raced to clinch Game Two 21-17. The deciding set, once again got going for Arshalan thanks to his consistent stoppages.
“Sahil has good stamina and I would have lost had I not taken those breaks to catch my breath. He was really making me run all over the court. I was tired and unable to match his speed in the second game. The breaks were part of my plan to surprise him. I am glad it worked,” said Arshalan, who trains at the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad. Sahil admitted he was helpless. “This was the first time I was playing Arshalan, and after I won the first game, I was confident of winning the match if I engaged him in long rallies. But all those breaks helped him recover and in the bargain, I lost rhythm,” he said.
Arshalan next faces Talar Laa of Air India in the U-17 semi-finals. Coincidentally, the two met later last evening in the U-19 quarters, with Arshalan winning 21-16, 22-20.
Boys’ U-17 (Q/F): Talar Laa bt Chaitanya KP 21-17, 21-19; Kaushal Dharmamer bt Harshit Agarwal 21-18, 21-9; Arshalan Naqvi bt Sipani Sahil 23-25, 21-17, 21-12, Daniel Farid bt Sumit Sharma 16-21, 21-18, 13-6 (retired). Boys’ U-19 (Q/F): Rohit Yadav bt Harsheel Dani 21-16, 21-18; Shreyansh Jaiswal bt Aditya Joshi 15-21, 21-9, 21-16; Shlok Ramchandran bt Hemangendra Babu 22-20, 21-18, Arshalan Naqvi bt Talar Laa 21-16, 22-20; Girls’ U-17 (Q/F): Vrushali G bt Vibhuti Agarwal 21-13, 21-10; Anoushka Parikh bt Anokhi Haria 21-12, 21-16, Sudha Kalyani bt Pooja M 21-15, 23-21, Malvika JK bt Revati Devasthale 24-22, 21-11