BENGALURU: It’s Punjab versus Kerala and Railways against Tamil Nadu in the men’s semifinals of the 64th national volleyball championships, while in the women’s section, Railways meet West Bengal and Kerala face off against Tamil Nadu at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium on Saturday.
In men’s quarterfinal action, Railways put paid to the hopes of Fed Cup winners and hosts Karnataka 3-1, while Punjab put it across Services 3-0 after Kerala had beaten Uttarakhand 3-2 and Tamil Nadu swamped Uttar Pradesh 3-0.
Holders Railways knocked out hosts Karnataka 3-0 in the women’s quarterfinals, while Kerala got past Andhra Pradesh by the same margin to make the semis. West Bengal downed Telangana 3-2 and Tamil Nadu beat Maharashtra 3-2.
UP took a brief 7-3 lead, but TN then roared back to restore parity and level scores at 16-16, before taking charge. Once they settled down, UP had no answer as they were always ahead and never looked back.
Uttarakhand provided anxious moments to Kerala as they came back from 2-0 down to level the scores, and push the match into a decider. With left-hander Ragesh producing blistering serves, Kerala managed to wriggle out. Vibin George, Rohith and Manu combined well as they bagged the first two sets. But Mohit Sehrawat, skipper Ranjit Singh and Sukhjinder Singh did well to pick up points for the northern state, who levelled at two-all. In the decider, Uttarakhand briefly led 6-4 but pressure led to the former’s downfall.
Results (all quarterfinals): Men: Kerala bt Uttarakhand 3-2 (25-21, 25-22, 23-25, 14-25, 15-12), Tamil Nadu bt Uttar Pradesh 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-17), Punjab bt Sevices 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-16), Railways bt Karnataka 3-1 (25-16, 22-25, 25-17, 25-22). Women: Indian Railways bt Karnataka 3-0 (25-17, 25-03, 25-08), Kerala bt Andhra Pradesh 3-0 (25-13, 25-10, 25-11), West Bengal bt Telangana 3-2 (25-22, 22-25, 11-25, 25-09), Tamil Nadu bt Maharashtra 3-2 (25-23, 25-15, 19-25, 20-25, 18-16).