NEKEISHA BLAKE was in sensational form again when the National Badminton Championship continued Wednesday night at National Racquet Centre, Orange Grove Main Road, Tacarigua.
After dropping less than ten points in each game in the first round the night before, the six-time champion, who withdrew from the first tournament in three years last month because of problems with equipment and was unseeded as a result, hammered second-seeded Amara Urquhart 21-16, 21-7 to advance to last night’s semi-finals.
The 15-year-old Urquhart came into the tournament in tremendous form, having captured the Under-17 title and placed second in the open division in last month’s ranking events.
After receiving a bye in the first round, top seed Chequeda De Boulet, who was not challenged in the ranking tournament, whipped Destiny Rattan 21-14, 21-4 to reach the last four.
The 21-year-old won the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles when this tournament was last staged in 2019.
In Wednesday night’s other quarter-finals, third seed Cathline Ramroop was a 21-12, 21-12 winner over Tishelle George, and Janiah Boodoosingh defeated No. 4 see Rachel Ragoonanan 22-20, 21-16.
While three of the four seeds reached the last four, none of the top four seeded players in the men’s draw were involved in last night’s semis.
Leon Cassie was actually the only one of the eight seeds to reach the quarters, but the No. 2 seed was dismissed 21-15, 21-11 by Will Lee, who won the title in the last edition of the tournament but was unseeded here because he did not play last month.
Reece Marcano and Zion St Rose also missed out on the opportunity to be seeded for the same reason, but that did not prevent them from also reaching the last four as well.
St Rose halted Sheraz Nabbie 21-12, 21-18.
And Marcano ended the comeback of 47-year-old Anil Seepaul 22-20, 21-12.
In his return to singles competition after over a decade, the five-time national champ won his first round in straight sets and then received a walkover from injured top seed Travis Sinanan.
Vishal Ramsubhag, an unknown before the pandemic, who stunned Sinanan for the Under-19 crown in the ranking tournament, scored a hard-fought over 2018 and 2019 national Under-19 champ Travis Sinanan 21-18, 24-22 in the other quarter-final.
The tournament’s final day of action starts from 6 p.m. today, with the finals of singles, doubles and mixed doubles.