Ashwini Ponnappa confirms her mixed doubles partnership with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy
What’s the story?
Indian doubles ace Ashwini Ponnappa has confirmed that she will be pairing up with the rising star Satwiksairaj Rankireddy from the next tournament in which she participates in mixed doubles.
The 27-year-old veteran had qualified for the 2017 World Championships alongside B Sumeeth Reddy. The duo reached the second round there where they bowed out in three games.
When recently asked whether she will continue her partnership with Reddy, she clarified, “No, I will be playing with Satwiksairaj from the next tournament,” as quoted by IANS.
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Ponnappa and Rankireddy had teamed up during the 2017 Sudirman Cup in May and their performances were quite promising.
They beat Tontowi Ahmad and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja which helped India get the better of former champions Indonesia 4-1 and make it through to the quarter-finals. Even in the two losses that they suffered, they were able to snatch a game in each match.
The heart of the matter
The 2011 World Championships bronze medallist has also expressed satisfaction at how her women’s doubles partnership with N Sikki Reddy is going. The two joined forces only last November when the famous pair of Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta parted ways.
The two reached the finals at the Welsh International and the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold and have broken into the top 25, en route to becoming India's No. 1 pair. Even at the recently-concluded World Championships, they stretched the second seeds and eventual bronze medallists Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen to three games before losing in the second round.
Ponnappa has said that considering they are a fairly new pair, they are on the right track as indicated by their performances in eight months.
Ponnappa’s next tournament is the Victor Korea Open Superseries beginning in Seoul from September 12. She is playing only women’s doubles in that tournament in tandem with N Sikki Reddy.
The 17-year-old Satwiksairaj has already been touted as the next best doubles talent from India. Endowed with impressive attacking skills, he will definitely form a great team with Ponnappa.
Not only that, Rankireddy has proved to be a very fast learner, evidenced by his career-high ranking of 60th in mixed doubles and 35th in men’s doubles. He can surely pick up a lot of skills from Ashwini as well and improve his game further.