Top seeds Anup Sridhar and Saina Nehwal registered contrasting wins to seal semi-final berths in the men's and women's section respectively in the 72nd Senior National Badminton Championships here on Friday.
Sridhar survived a big scare when he saved a set point before labouring to a 22-20, 21-16 win over junior national champion Guru Sai Dutt at Indoor stadium Panjim, Goa. In the semi-finals, Anup now takes on defending champion Chetan Anand, who knocked out Sachin Ratti of the Railways 21-17, 21-15.
Aravind Bhatt of Petroleum Sports Control Board and Anand Pawar of Air India will lock horns in the second semi-final.
Saina, on the other hand, had it relatively easy against Jwala Gutta, winning 21-10, 21-11.
Sridhar, who had defeated Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat at the World Championship, escaped crashing out when Dutt caught him on the back foot early. But the top seed recovered quickly and forced the youngster into making errors to win the first set.
In the second set, Sridhar took advantage of a tiring Dutt before closing the set and match with a flurry of back court winners.
Dutt later admitted he ran out of steam in the quarterfinal after playing gruelling three-setter in previous rounds. "He tired me out," Guru told IANS.
The junior national champion, who has shown a lot of promise, had accounted for the experienced Ajay Jayram and Ravinder Singh in previous rounds.
"There is lot of work ahead. I struggled against Guru (in the quarter-final), but it will be different tomorrow," said twice national champion Sridhar.
In the women's section, defending champion Saina proved too good for Jwala, winning the quarterfinal clash even before one could blink. She now meets Aparna Balan who staved off the tenacious Dhanya Nair in a gripping three setter.
Aditi Mutatkar and Trupti Murgunde, quite expectedly, also sailed into the semi-finals.
Anup Sridhar (PSPB) bt Guru Sai Dutt (Andhra Pradesh) 22-20, 21-16; Chetan Anand (PSPB) bt Sachin Ratti (Railways) 21-17, 21-15; Aravind Bhatt (PSPB) bt Sagar Chopda (Maharashtra) 21-14, 21-13; Anand Pawar (Air India) bt P. Kashyap (Air India) 20-22, 21-18, 21-19
Saina Nehwal (PSPB) bt Jwala Gutta (PSPB) 21-10, 21-11; Aparna Balan (PSPB) bt Dhanya Nair (Railways) 13-21, 21-14, 21-11; Aditi Mutatkar (PSPB) bt BR Meenakshi (PSPB) 21-19, 18-21, 21-18; Trupti Murgunde (PSPB) bt Gayatri Vartak (Maharashtra) 21-16, 21-8.