For Malvika Bansod it doesn’t get any bigger than this. The unseeded shuttler surprised everyone by reaching the women's singles final of the Syed Modi BWF World Tour Super 300 tournament. Malvika will meet top seed PV Sindhu for the title in Lucknow on Sunday.
The talented 20-year-old from Nagpur stunned Saina Nehwal in the second round of the Indian Open last week in New Delhi. After defeating her idol Saina, Malvika will be up against another legendary Indian badminton ace in back-to-back tournaments.
World No 7 Sindhu is looking to end her recent title-drought and that will make Malvika's job all the more tougher.
Malvika Bansod to face Sindhu after almost three years
World No 84 Malvika has never met Sindhu at international level. However, the two have met once on the domestic circuit, in the 83rd Senior National Badminton Championships in February 2019 in Guwahati, which Sindhu won 21-11, 21-13.
In the last three years, Malvika has gained much-needed experience and valuable exposure to challenge bigger players. She displayed outstanding form in the semifinals against Anupama Upadhyaya on Saturday.
After losing the first game 19-21, Malvika was on the brink of defeat as she was trailing 16-19 in the second game. However, the southpaw did not give up and reeled off five successive points to claim the second game.
Representing India in the prestigious Sudirman Cup and Uber Cup has made Malvika a mature player. She doesn't panic when the situation is not in her favor. Every time Malvika is down, she has managed to rise to the occasion to complete the job.
Against Aakarshi Kashyap, Malvika raised her game to beat her opponent 21-11, 21-11 in the quarterfinals on Friday to avenge her Indian Open quarterfinal defeat.
At 20, Malvika will become only the third youngest Indian woman to play in the final of a World Tour Super 300 tournament after Saina and Sindhu.
Training under chief junior national coach Sanjay Mishra at Raipur since 2019 has certainly helped Malvika improve her overall game. Malvika is slowly and steadily making progress and has established herself as the candidate to bridge the gap between Saina-Sindhu and the rest of the Indian women shuttlers.