Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Odisha Open: Unnati stuns Malvika to sail into final

Fourteen-year-old Unnati Hooda kept her calm in a hard-fought straight-game victory over Indian Open finalist Malvika Bansod to enter the women’s singles final of the Odisha Open here on Saturday.
The 14-year-old Unnati pipped Malvika 24-22 24-22 in a nail-biting 50-minute semifinal clash at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Indoor Stadium.
Malvika has been in good nick recently, having defeated her idol Saina Nehwal at the India Open earlier this month before losing to PV Sindhu in the final of the Syed Modi International last week.
She had also defeated junior world No. 1 Tasnim Mir in the pre-quarterfinals here. The win against Malvika would be a huge confidence booster for Unnati, who is ranked 418th in the world. In the other women’s singles semifinal, world No. 163 Smit Toshniwal upset fifth seed and higher-ranked Ashmita Chaliha, 21-19 10-21 21-17 in one hour one minute to set up a summit clash with Unnati.
Priyanshu Rajawat and Kiran George advanced to the final of the men’s singles event with contrasting wins.
While Priyanshu wrapped up proceeding with a 21-17 21-14 straight game victory over Kauhsal Dharmamer in 36 minutes, Kiran had to dig deep and came from behind to win 19-21 21-12 21-14 against compatriot Ansal Yadav.
The men’s doubles pair of Ravikrishna PS and Sankar Prasad Udaykumar prevailed over compatriots Vasantha Kumar Ranganatha and Ashith Surya 21-12 18-21 21-18 to advance to the final. They will face Malayasians Nur Mohd Ayub Azriyn and Li Khim Wah, who notched a 15-21 21-18 21-17 over the Sri Lankan duo of Sachin Dias and Buweneka Goonethilleka, in the summit clash on Sunday.
Also sealing a final’s berth was the eighth seed Indian women’s doubles duo of Sanyogita Ghorpade and Shruti Mishra with a 10-21 21-18 21-17 win over the Indo-American pairing of Srivedya Gurazada and Ishika Jaiswal.
They will take on the fifth seed pairing of Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand, who brushed aside compatriots Arul Bala Radhakrishnan and Nila Valluvan 21-9 21-6.
The mixed doubles duo of MR Arjun and Treesa Jolly also advanced to the final with an easy 21-9 21-9 win over compatriots Balkeshari Yadav and Swetaparna Panda.
With the win, Arjun and Jolly set up a summit clash with the Sri Lankan pair of Sachin Dias and Thilini Hendahwa, who dispatched Indians Mauryan Kathiravan and Kuhan Balashri, 21-8 21-17 in little less than half an hour.