Indian badminton round-up: Prajakta Sawant seeks title in Malaysia, Saili Rane enters Norway final
While none of the top Indian shuttlers managed to advance past the quarter-finals at the China Open Superseries Premier this week, two Indians are now one match away from lifting the title at lower level tournaments. At the $20, 000 Celcom Axiata Malaysia International Challenge in Pasir Gudang, India’s Prajakta Sawant advanced to the mixed doubles final in partnership with Malaysia’s Yogendran Khrishnan.
The two, who have received the top seeding at this tournament, had to work extremely hard and even saved a match point in their 16-21, 21-16, 23-21 comeback win over the third seeded Indonesian combine of Yantoni Edy Saputra and Marsheilla Gischa Islami. The marathon lasted 47 minutes.
The 42nd ranked pair next meets the unseeded Japanese pair of Hiroki Okamura and Naru Shinoya, who upset the second seeds Lukhi Apri Nugroho and Ririn Amelia 21-16, 21-11 in the other semi-final.
Sawant and Krishnan started off their campaign at this event with two comfortable straight-game wins. It was in the quarter-finals that they faced their first challenge and were taken to three games by the unseeded Singaporean team of Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Putri Sari Dewi Citra.
They are seeking their third title of the season after triumphing at the Mauritius International in June and at the Egypt International last month.
Rane seeks first title of the season
At the $8, 000 Norwegian International Series tournament in Sandefjord, third seed Saili Rane reached the final with a dominant performance. The World No. 96 took 40 minutes to beat Spanish qualifier, Sara Penalver Pereira, 21-18, 21-16.
Rane meets the 139th ranked giant-killer, Kristin Kuuba of Estonia in the title showdown on Sunday. The latter stunned the top seed Clara Azurmendi 16-21, 23-21, 21-15 in the semi-finals.
Rane is aiming to win her first title of the year. Her last win came at the Mauritius International in June, 2016.
Meiraba’s brilliant run ends
Fourth seeded Meiraba Luwang’s brilliant run in the Boys’ Singles Under-17 section at the Korea Junior Badminton Championships came to an end in the semi-finals. The rising star from Manipur squandered a one-game lead to go down 24-22, 19-21, 10-21 to the top seed Park Hyeon Seung of Korea.
The 14-year-old put on a gritty show in the quarter-finals where he edged the fifth seeded Choi Ji Hoon, 29-27, 13-21, 21-14.