KATHMANDU, Feb 2: Nepal´s No 1 badminton player Bikash Shrestha of Bhojpur and upcoming star Dipesh Dhami set up a mouthwatering semifinal showdown after both won their respective men´s singles matches of the Ninth Nationwide Krishna Mohan Memorial Open Badminton Tournament on Saturday.
Former Nepal Police Club (NPC) player Shrestha saw off Indra Mahat of Armed Police Force (APF) 21-14, 21-11 at the APF Headquarters, Halchowk to secure a place in Sunday´s semifinal. APF´s Dhami, on the other hand, was made to work hard en route to a 21-15, 21-20 win over Bishnu Katuwal of NPC.
The other semifinal pits No 2 Ratnajit Tamang of APF against Sajan Krishna Tamrakar of NPC. Tamang edged past his club-mate Bishal Pradhan 21-17, 21-18 while Tamrakar beat departmental rival Pankaj Chand of APF 21-19, 21-12.
In the men´s doubles, the APF pair of Ratnajit Tamang and Bishal Pradhan defeated NPC´s Ganesh Chand and Surya Thapa 21-10, 21-18. Likewise, the pairs of Akash Chhantyal and Raju Bajracharya of Lalitpur, Bimal Shrestha and Suraj Maharjan of Lalitpur, and Indra Mahat and Pankaj Chand of APF won their respective matches to advance to the semifinals.
In the women´s singles, Samjhana Khaling of APF retired hurt in a tough quarterfinal match against her club-mate Shiksha Shrestha. Khaling lost the first set 19-21 but leveled the scores with a 22-20 win in the second set. However, she left the match in the third set due to knee injury.
Shrestha will face her club-mate Sabina Panthi, who thrashed Sulochana Bhaktaraj of Ilam 21-8, 21-7, in the semifinals.
In the other semifinal, top seeded Nangsal Devi Tamang of APF will lock horns with her elder sister Sara Devi, the second seed, of Tribhuvan Army Club.
Nangsal Devi eased past Durga Sharma of Kailali 21-14, 21-5 while Sara Devi registered a 21-13, 21-11 win over Amita Giri of Jhapa in their quarterfinal matches.
Meanwhile, the semifinals of women´s doubles will feature three APF pairs -- Sujana Shrestha and Bina Tulachan, Sabina Panthi and Samjhana Khaling, and Pooja Shrestha and Nangsal Devi Tamang. The pair of Sara Devi Tamang and Shreya Pradhan of Tribhuvan Army Club complete the semifinal lineup.
APF pair wins tennis doubles title
Durja Kumar Rai and Durga Bahadur Kunwar of APF won the inter-goverment men´s doubles title of the Fifth APF Open Lawn Tennis Tournament on Saturday defeating the pair of Amulya Singh and Pradip Shah of Tribhuvan Army Club 6-3, 6-4 in the final.
In the men´s singles of the same category, Shah breezed past his club-mate Caesar Gurung 6-0, 6-0 to advance into the final. Shah will face Durga Bahadur Kunwar in the title clash after the APF player earned a walkover from his doubles partner Durja Kumar Rai in the singles category.
Another player to steal the limelight on the fourth day of the tournament was Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal President Kamal Thapa. Thapa handed a double bagel to Suraj Kumar Shrestha to secure a place in the final of the veteran´s above 35 men´s singles category.
In the men´s singles, Kumar Adhikari of Kathmandu defeated Kamal Bhandari of NPC 6-3, 6-0 to make it to the final where he will face Jitendra Pariyar of Lalitpur. Pariyar demolished Milan Rokaya 6-3, 6-0 en route to the final.
In the women´s singles category, Malika Rana of Lalitpur defeated her sister Mahika Rana 6-4, 6-3 to set up a title clash with Ganga Sharma of Pokhara. Sharma registered a hard-fought win over Bibhuti Karki of Lalitpur in three sets. Sharma won the first set 6-4 but Karki staged a fightback to take the second set 6-1. However, Sharma prevailed in the third set 6-3 to enter the final.