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Indian show all the way, paddles enter semis




Jammu, December 5: The Indian men and women paddlers continued their good work in the 13th South Asian Games at Kathmandu as top-seed Harmeet Desai defeated Fahad Khwaja of Pakistan 11-8, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 to enter the semifinals today.


The top-seeded Indian will clash with Purushottam B of Nepal, who accounted for Nirmala Buwaneka of Sri Lanka 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 12-14, 11-8, 11-8 in a tough quarter-final showdown.


Second-seed A Anthony Amalraj too joined him beating Imesha Udeya of Sri Lanka 5-11, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9 after he the Indian had a stuttering start in the quarterfinals. Amalraj will take on Santoo Shrestha of Nepal who beat his Pakistani rival, Mohammad Rameez 6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6, 4-11, 11-5.


Similarly, Ayhika Mukherjee, the No. 1 seed, and Sutirtha Mukherjee, seeded second, marched into the women singles semifinals without any problems. Ayhika defeated Fatima Dheema of Maldives 11-6, 11-3, 11-6, 11-3 while Sutirtha downed Yasin Sanam of Pakistan 11-2, 11-2, 11-1, 11-4.


Ayhika will take on Erandi Dilushika of Sri Lanka, who beat fourth-seeded Nabita Srestha 14-12, 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8. In the other semifinal, Sutirtha will meet Ishara Madurangi, also of Sri Lanka. The latter defeated Aisath Rafa of Maldives 16-14, 10-12, 11-4, 12-14, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8.


The way Indians have been going about it, it looks like an all-Indian affairs in the two singles final as well.