India's Sankar Muthusamy reaches BWF World Junior Championships final

Sankar Muthusamy BAI

India's Sankar Muthusamy reached the final of the BWF World Junior Championships, beating Thailand's Panitchapon Teeraratsakul in straight games at Santandar, Spain on Saturday.

Seeded fourth in the tournament, Sankar showed great athleticism and tactical acumen to beat Teeraratsakul 21-13, 21-15 in a 40-minute men's U-19 singles semifinal. In the final on Sunday, the Indian will take on the winner of the other semifinal between Chinese Taipei's Kuo Kuan Lin and Korea's Byung Jae Kim.

Sankar, the former junior world No 1, had won a marathon quarterfinal against China Hu Zhe An, winning 18-21, 21-8 and 16-21 to confirm a medal for India. He showed no signs of any fatigue from the quarterfinal, as he controlled the rallies brilliantly in the semifinal. In his pre-quarters match, he had beaten another Thailand player, winning 21-10, 21-12 over Nachakorn Pusri.

He became the fourth Indian to reach the Junior World Championships final after Aparna Popat, Saina Nehwal and Siril Verma. He is only the second Indian to reach the final in the boys singles category.

He will now aim to become only the second Indian after 2008 winner Saina Nehwal to be crowned world junior champion. Siril Verma came close to claiming that title in 2015 but lost the final against Chinese Taipei's Chia Hung Lu. Aparna Popat (1996) and Saina Nehwal (2006, 2008) were the other Indians to reach the world junior finals in the past.