Former Junior World No. 1 S Sankar Muthusamy on Friday assured India of a BWF World Junior Championships medal after he defeated China’s Hu Zhen An to reach the semifinal in Santander, Spain.
The left-hander, seeded fourth, held his nerves despite losing the second game rather easily to beat his Chinese opponent 21-18, 8-21, 21-16 in an hour and 31 minutes in the men’s singles quarterfinals.
Before this edition of the Championships, India had won one gold, 3 silver and five bronze medals with Lakshya Sen bagging the last medal, a bronze, in 2018.
The Chinese looked confident after winning the second game and took a 6-4 lead in the decider before Sankar relied on his superior defence to first clinch six points in a row and then raced to a 19-11 lead.
Sankar probably took his foot off the pedal thereafter but the lead was too big for Hu to cover and the Indian converted the second match point to set up a semifinal clash against Thailand’s Panitchaphon Teeraratsakul.
“It was quite tough. In the second game I was not in a good patch initially, so I slowed it down in the second since he was getting tired. Towards the middle of the third game his tiredness started showing and that was a boost for me. I’m fine for tomorrow’s match. I’m used to training for such long matches as I’m a defensive player, but I’ve also been trying to attack more,” Sankar told BWF after the game.