National Games: Sathiyan and Manika advance to the semifinals; Sharath withdraws due to a back issue

Sharath Kamal pulls out of his last-eight match due to back pain . Top seeds G Sathiyan and Manika Batra advance to semifinals of their respective events .

SURAT: Sharath Kamal, a veteran paddler, pulled out of his last-eight match due to back pain, while top seeds G Sathiyan and Manika Batra advanced to the semifinals of their respective events at the National Games on Friday.Sharath was leading two games to one and 6-1 in the fourth game against Haryanas Soumyajit Ghosh, but he demanded medical attention and then decided to retire after a few minutes of therapy.In a fast-paced encounter, Sathiyan, on the other hand, quelled the challenge of local paddler Manav Thakkar 4-1.Though Thakkar stuck with his top seed style of play, he wasnt able to break his defense as Sathiyan won 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 14-12, and 13-11.

Manush Shah, the other Gujarat paddler to make it to the semifinals, defeated FR Snehit.In the first two games, the southpaw looked down and out as he struggled for balance and accuracy.But once he regrouped, the strokes started to flow and he turned the tables on his opponent, winning 4-2.Top seed Batra and second seed Sreeja Akula both secured convincing victories over their respective opponents to advance to the semifinals.

After being knocked out by the proven Sutirtha Mukherjee in the quarters, Reethrishya Tennison was the only player among the top four seeds to miss out on a semifinal spot.Sutirtha, who represented India at the Tokyo Olympics, also apologised for her team loss to the fourth seeded Reeth in the team events by winning the last eight round match 3-1.As she was pushed to the brink by Haryanas Suhana Saini, third seed Diya Chitale seemed to have made a statement on the sidelines.Throughout their seven-game encounter, both teams participated in several fast-paced rallies, in which no one had a two-game lead at any time.