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Riya eyes final fling

Under-19 top seed Riya Pillai of Maharashtra stormed into the final of the Gautam Thakkar Memorial All India Junior Masters badminton tournament beating Malvika JK of Kerala 21-11, 21-7 in the semi-finals at the Bombay Gymkhana on Saturday.

Riya Pillai
Maharashtra’s Riya Pillai serves to Kerala’s Malvika JK in the U-19 semi-final of the Gautam Thakkar Memorial Junior Masters tournament at Bombay Gymkhana on Saturday. PIC/Suresh KK

Riya faces third seed Vrushali G of Andhra Pradesh in the final. Vrushali beat Shruti Mundada of Maharashtra 21-15, 21-16 in the other semi-final on Saturday.
Riya is now keen to win the summit clash of her final junior appearance.

“This being my last tournament as an under-19 player, I want to win the title badly and end my junior career on a high. After this (final) I won’t be a junior anymore,” said Riya, who hails from Matunga in Mumbai.

She is cautious not to be be over-confident however. “Last year, in the All India U-19 tournament in Goa, I lost to Malvika in the final as I was a bit over-confident. Today, I was moving faster and used my aggressive play to my advantage. I hope to do the same tomorrow,” added Riya.

Meanwhile, in the boys U-17 singles semi-finals, fourth seed Talar Laa of Air India stunned top seed Arshalan Naqvi of Uttar Pradesh 21-14, 10-21, 21-19, while local lad Kaushal Dharmamer beat second seed Daniel Farid S of Karnataka 21-18, 21-15. 

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