Dubai: Paralympic gold medallist Pramod Bhagat had to dig deep to defeat fellow junior Nehal Gupta as Indian shuttlers maintained a strong show entering the semi-finals of several events at the ongoing 4th Fazza Dubai Para-badminton International 2022 here.
Bhagat, who won two gold medals at the recent Bahrain Para-badminton International 2022, had to come back from a game down to beat Gupta 18-21, 21-15, 21-11 and admitted to having taken time to get to adjust to the game.
“I took time to get my rhythm in the match. By that time, Nehal started playing well. He is improving fast and is highly skilled. He has a bright future,” said Bhagat, who will next face Daisuke Fujihara, the Paralympic bronze medallist in mixed doubles, from Japan.
Gupta said he would take a lot of learning experience from the match and the event. “I made a lot of errors and lifted the shuttle midcourt most of the time. But I am happy to have fought back and pulled off a game,” said the 17-year-old who is believed to be the next big thing in men’s singles SL3 emerging from India.
Gupta now aims to bring variation to his game and improve his physical strength.
In men’s singles SL4, Tarun Dhillon also advanced to the semifinals and is expected to meet Indonesian Fredy Setiawan in the finals.
Dhillon overcame a second game scare from Korea’s Cho Nadan to advance 21-15, 20-22, 21-14 in the quarters. The Haryana-based shuttler also entered the men’s doubles SL3-SL4 semifinals with partner Nitesh Kumar.
Joshi, Parmar, Ramadass, Kaur in semis too
The women’s SL3 semifinal lineup has three Indians with reigning world champion Manasi Joshi set to face Australia’s Celine Aurelie Vinot while Mandeep Kaur meets experienced Parul Parmar in the other semifinal.
Joshi is also through to the mixed doubles SL3-SU5 semifinal with partner Ruthick Ragupathi after they pulled off a come from behind win over the new pairing of Bhagat and Manisha Ramadass 21-12, 16-21, 19-21. “We are very happy. As we are also a relatively new pair, I didn’t expect to come this far. Our coordination and understanding are the best things in our partnership.”
Meanwhile, Parmar along with Palak Kohli has also advanced to the women’s doubles SL3-SU5 semi-finals. Manisha had an easy opponent in Italy and she made the most of it, defeating the Italian Rosa Efomo De Marco in straight Games 21-17, 21-11.
The young Indian shuttler will be fighting it out for a place in the finals of women’s doubles SL3-SU5 with Mandeep Kaur. The semi-finals will be played later this evening.