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Suhana puts India in the Worlds medal round




New Delhi, December 2: India’s Under-15 Girls made history as they entered the medal round in the ITTF World Youth Championships at Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.


The Indian girls, led by Suhana Saini, defeated hosts Portugal 3-1 to enter the semi-finals where they are slated to clash with winners of the quarterfinals between the Russian Federation and Mauritius tomorrow.


Taking on the hosts in the main draw on Thursday, second-seeded India did not have an auspicious beginning when Sayani Wani Rajesh opened against Matilde Pinto. Though the Indian took the first game on extended point, the Portuguese girl bounced back to win 10-12, 11-5, 11-3, 11-4 to the hosts 1-0 up.


However, the reliable Suhana Saini who has had a good run this season with three titles abroad, swung the pendulum of fortune India’s way to level the score when she defeated Mariana Rodrigues 11-8, 11-9, 11-4. In the first two games, Mariana gave a good fight to the Indian who is known for not giving up easily. As expected, she stopped her opponent in the nick of time to go 2-0 up and completed the task in the third to make the Indian bench breathe easy.


Next in line was Pritha Vartikar from Pune. And, true to her potential, Pritha rolled over Mariana Costa in straight games of 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 to consolidate. And, with attention riveted on the Rohtak girl, she returned for her reverse singles against Portugal’s No. 1 player Matilde and finished the job in style, winning the rubber11-8, 13-11, 11-8, and putting India in the medal round.