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Golden sweep for Indian girls in Tunis




New Delhi, September 16: Swastika Ghosh defeated compatriot Yashaswini Ghorphade 3-2 (6-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6 11-8) in what tuned out to be a gripping Under-19 Girls final to win the WTT Contender event in Tunis on Tuesday night.


However, a little while before, the silver medallist Yashaswini won gold in the Under-17 Girls final, beating Egyptian Farida Badawy 11-6, 14-12, 11-7.


These were not only successes in Tunis as the Indian paddlers collected all the gold on offer, besides some silver and bronze medals.


Suhana Saini accounted for Pritha Vartikar in the Under-15 Girls final for her second international gold. She had earlier won the title during her Slovenia sojourn.  M. Hansini was another Indian who excelled, winning the gold in Under-13 Girls, beating Prisha Goel 11-5, 11-8, 11-8. In Under-11 Girls, Dhaani Jain emerged champion when she downed Ananya Muralidharan 11-4, 11-6, 9-11, 10-12, 11-7 in a tough final.


Playing her second final soon after a brief break from her gold-winning U-17 final, the Bengaluru girl took on Mumbai’s Swastika in the Under-17 section. Nicely warmed up, Yashaswini won the first game before Swastika recovered to take the second. But the fight continued unabated, as the two shared the next two games and, in the decider, Swastika proved a notch better than Yashaswini.


Earlier, she beat Nithyashree Mani 9-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-5, while Swastika downed Lakshita Narang 11-4, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7 in their semi-finals. Both the Chennai and Delhi girls had to settle for the bronze medals.


In U-17, it was a different story for Yashaswini. Her Egyptian opponent Badawy proved no match in the final. But the Bengaluru girl dropped a game first and struggled in the third to subdue Lakshita in the semi-final, winning it 8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 13-11. The Delhi girl again had to settle with the bronze.


Haryana’s Suhana showed her resolve in her golden win in the U-15 against Maharashtra’s Pritha. In the tense final, Suhana surged ahead with a sizeable lead to seal it.


Sayali Wani lost her semi-final outing to Suhana 7-11, 10-12, 11-13. It was creditable the West Bengal girl could stretch the experienced Suhana in the last two games. But Pritha dropped a game in her semi-final against Belgian Lilou Massart but picked up momentum to finish with an 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-2 victory.


In the U-13 final, Chennai Hansini beat Delhi’s Prisha Goel in straight games. In the semi-finals, Hansini beat Ananya, also a straight-game affair, while Prisha beat Uzbek’s Asel Erkebaeva 11-6, 12-10, 11-4. Ananya returned with the bronze.


However, the Tamil Nadu girl’s better showing fetched her silver in the U-13 category. Yet, she squandered a 2-0 lead to left Dhaani off the hook. Credit to the Delhi girl who fought to finish with the gold.