But it was the sixth-seeded Bengal A team that surprised second-seed Uttar Pradesh with a 3-2 win to consign the latter to a lesser medal in the second semifinal, thus earning a meeting with Maharashtra A in the title clash tomorrow.

However, in Junior Boys semifinals, both the top two seeds, Delhi and Gujarat, kept their date with destiny and stormed into the final, beating Maharashtra A 3-1 and Mizoram 3-2, respectively.

The girls’ tough draw meant that both the top teams had to really fight hard to survive and in the case of Maharashtra, things were made rather easy when Swastika Ghosh opened against Anargaya Manjunath with a 3-0 score. Diya Chitale consolidated with her trademark play and subdued Yashaswini Ghorphade. But the Karnataka duo fought back to pull one down in the doubles against the Maharashtra pair but it was not sufficient as Diya beat Anargaya in straight games to enter the final.

On the other hand, the second semifinal was a see-saw battle in which Bengal A led 2-1 after the teams shared the first singles spoils, thanks to an enterprising doubles encounter. But soon the initiative was lost when Poymantee Baishya lost her reverse singles to Radhapriya Goel, who tasted first success when she beat Munmun Kundu, to take the issue to the last rubber.

Suhana Narjinary, who played brilliantly, until the decider against Mumnun in the reverse singles lost her way midway through and despite a late launch, it was not to be.

As for the Junior Boys, Delhi had a strong squad in Payas Jain and Yashansh Malik who provided a comfortable 2-0 lead but the duo of Payas and Shreyaans Goel received a setback when it failed to counter the Maharashtra pair of Deepit Patil and Chinmaya Somaiya as well in the doubles.

Nevertheless, Payas in his inimitable way finished off in style with straight games victory over Chinmaya.

But it was really a laboured win for Gujarat boy who had to counter the offensive and defensive duo of Jeho and Alberto. Jeho, completely out of sorts, played a below-par match today and that effectively put Gujarat on the path of victory. Dhariya Parmar beat Jeho in five games but Alberto restored parity and soon the Mizoram boys were in lead when they took the doubles. But in the two reverse singles, the Gujarat boys proved too good, especially Chitrax Bhatt, who outplayed Jeho, before Dhariya could drive the final nail in the Mizoram coffin.

In Youth Boys team semifinals, Telangana took three hours to inflict a 3-2 defeat on Mizoram, while Bengal A in Youth Girls consumed 140 minutes for their 3-2 win against PSPB Academy. In contrast, Delhi boys and Maharashtra A girls took just a little over 70 minutes to register their 3-0 triumphs against Maharashtra A boys and Telangana girls, respectively.

There were several exciting moments in both the marathon matches with the pendulum swinging from one extreme to another. In fact, Snehit should have sealed Mizoram’s fate in the fourth rubber itself but some passive play helped Jeho come back to give them a lease of life which was put out by Ali.

Similarly, it was Poymantee Baishya, playing in both Junior and Youth sections, redeemed by posting wins in both singles while Prapti Sen, drafted at the last moment by PSPBA, failed to win even one.