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Malvika Bansod stuns fourth seed Saina Nehwal to storm into quarters; Sindhu, Ashmita, Aakarshi in last 8

Malvika Bansod upset Saina Nehwal 21-17, 21-9 in the women's singles second round match of the India Open on Thursday (Picture: BAI)
Malvika Bansod upset Saina Nehwal 21-17, 21-9 in the women's singles second round match of the India Open on Thursday (Picture: BAI)
Suhas Nayse
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Malvika Bansod stunned her idol Saina Nehwal to storm into the India Open 2022 quarterfinals at the KD Jadhav Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.

With the win, unseeded Malvika Bansod became only the second Indian to defeat former world No. 1 Saina Nehwal since 2017 in any international tournament.

Nagpur shuttler Malvika shocked fourth seed Saina 21-17, 21-9 in the women’s singles second round encounter, which lasted 34 minutes.

World No. 111 Malvika will now clash with Aakarshi Kashyap for a spot in the semifinals on Friday. Earlier this month, Malvika beat Aakarshi in the final of the BAI All India Senior Rankings tournament in Hyderabad. World No. 76 Aakarshi Kashyap thumped Keyura Mopati in straight games.

Ashmita Chaliha continued her strong run by ousting France’s Yaelle Hoyaux to reach the quarters of the tournament, which is part of the HSBC BWF World Tour.

Ashmita Chaliha got the better of Hoyaux 21-17, 21-14. Also advancing to the Round of 8 was top seed PV Sindhu. World No. 7 Sindhu thrashed Ira Sharma 21-10, 21-10 in the second round.

Nagpur shuttler Malvika Bansod played for the first time against Saina Nehwal (Picture: BAI)
Nagpur shuttler Malvika Bansod played for the first time against Saina Nehwal (Picture: BAI)

Malvika Bansod emulates PV Sindhu by beating Saina Nehwal

Prior to Thursday’s match, Saina’s only loss against an Indian opponent at the Indian Open was in the quarterfinals against PV Sindhu in 2017. Fifteen years ago, on the domestic circuit, any Indian to beat her was in 2006 by Aparna Popat at the Senior National Championships in Bangalore.

And even though Saina hadn’t been at her physical best and is still recovering from a serious knee-injquarterfinalstournament, Malvika’s task was far from easy. The experienced former champion was willing to dig in and fight for every point despite the lay-offs.

Malvika started by playing more drops to counter Saina’s ability to hit down-the-line smashes that allowed her to open up a 11-6 lead in the opening game.

Under pressure from Malvika, she then started pushing herself to lift better from the forehand corner and push her opponent to the back court. That allowed Saina to close the gap at 16-18 before two consecutive unforced errors on smashes allowed Malvika to pocket the opening game.

India No. 2 Malvika, who lists reading anything from a pamphlet to a dictionary when free as her hobby, also read Saina’s gameplan well. World No. 25 Saina pushed her to the backcourt rather well and kept on moving her opponent to all four corners to test her overall fitness.

Often, Nehwal was slow to react to Bansod’s flat tosses and was never in the fight in the second game.

“I was playing her for the first time and was not thinking of winning or losing. My game plan was to just keep the shuttle in play and keep moving her,” said Malvika after the match.

The 20-year-old had been following Nehwal’s career since she first saw her posters during a state-level tournament nine years ago. Malvika said she made it a point not to see her senior compatriot’s face during the entire match as she was afraid of losing focus.

While Malvika registered the biggest victory of her career on Thursday, a calm and composed Ashmita Chaliha proved quite strong for Hoyaux. The Frenchwoman was the first to get off the blocks and took a 15-11 lead before the Indian player turned the tables against the fellow left-hander.

Ashmita Chaliha to face PV Sindhu in quarters

Ashmita won nine straight points to reach game point and converted the second one. The Guwahati girl was in total control in the second game as she raced to an easy win.

She will now face Sindhu in the Round of 8 and though she knows she is going to be a rank-outsider against the former world champion, the 22-year-old wants to just go out and enjoy herself on the court.

At the Senior Nationals in Guwahati, Ashmita had a tough fight against Sindhu in the semifinals in front of her home supporters.

In the day’s other matches, men’s singles world champion Loh Kean Yew defeated Joo Ven Soong 21-12, 21-12 to reach the quarterfinals, where he was also joined by Malaysia’s NG Tze Yong.

In the other women’s singles pre-quarterfinals, third seed Jia Min Yeo of Singapore got the better of Anupama Upadhaya 13-21, 21-17, 21-12. USA’s Lauren Lam defeated Tanya Hemanth 21-18, 21-11. Bengaluru teenager Tanya was ahead by a couple of points in the first game.

In-form Indian star Lakshya Sen also moved into the quarter-finals after defeating Felix Burestedt of Sweden 21-12, 21-15. The World Championship bronze medalist will lock horns with HS Prannoy on Friday.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty defeated Indian compatriots Shyam Prasad and S. Sunjith 21-9, 21-18.

Indian Results (Round 2)

Men’s singles

3-Lakshya Sen bt Felix Burestedt (Sweden) 21-12, 21-15 (41 minutes)

8-HS Prannoy gets a walkover from Mithun Manjunath

1-Kidambi Srikanth gave a walkover to Kim Bruun (Denmark)

C Rahul Yadav lost to Nhat Nguyen (Ireland) 17-21, 13-21 (45 minutes)

6-Sameer Verma lost to Brian Yang (Canada) 2-4 (Retired) (2 minutes)

Women’s singles

1-PV Sindhu bt Ira Sharma 21-10, 21-10 (30 minutes)

Malvika Bansod bt 4-Saina Nehwal 21-17, 21-9 (34 minutes)

Aakarshi Kashyap bt Keyura Mopati 21-10, 21-10 (23 minutes)

Ashmita Chaliha bt Yaelle Hoyaux (France) 21-17, 21-14 (30 minutes)

Anupama Upadhyaya lost to 3-Yeo Jia Min (Singapore) 21-13, 7-21, 12-21 (52 minutes)

Tanya Hemanth lost to Lauren Lam (USA) 18-21, 11-21 (34 minutes)

Men’s doubles

2-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty bt Shyam Prasad-S Sunjith (Jr) 21-9, 21-18 (32 minutes)

Bhaskar Chakraborty-Kapil Chaudhary lost to 1-Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) 17-21, 9-21 (22 minutes)

Vasantha Kumar HR-Ashith Surya lost to Torjus Flaatten-Vegard Rikheim (Norway) 17-21, 21-6, 18-21 (50 minutes)

Utkarsh Arora-Akshan Shetty gave a walkover to 3-Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (Malaysia)

Vaibhaav-Nithin HV lost to Joshua Magee-Paul Reynolds (Ireland) 14-21, 13-21 (34 minutes)

Sanjai Srivatsa Dhanraj-Siddarth Elango lost to 8-Fabien Delrue-William Villeger (France) 18-21, 15-21 (38 minutes)

Ishaan Bhatnagar-Sai Pratheek K got a walkover from 6-MR Arjun-Dhruv Kapila

Gaurav Deswal-Shubham Yadav lost to Hee Yong Kai Terry-Loh Kean Hean (Singapore) 12-21, 11-21 (21 minutes)

Women’s doubles

8-K Ashwini Bhat-Shikha Gautam bt Ramya Venkatesh C-Apeksha Nayak 21-10, 21-13 (35 minutes)

Anuriya Das-Sanghamitra Saikia lost to 3-Anastasiia Akchurina-Olga Morozova (Russia) 2-21, 12-21 (22 minutes)

Tanishka Deshpande-Shruti Mundada lost to 4-Benyapa Aimsaard (Thailand) 7-21, 9-21 (25 minutes)

2-Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy gave a walkover to Ekaterina Malkova-Anastasiia Shapovalova (Russia)

Srivedya Gurazada-Ishika Jaiswal lost to 5-Vivian Hoo-Lim Chiew Sien (Malaysia) 15-21, 15-21 (31 minutes)

7-Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand Pullela gave a walkover to Haritha Manazhiyil H-Ashna Roy

Deeksha Choudhary-Yashika Jakhar gets a walkover from Simran Singhi-Ritika Thaker

Rudrani Jaiswal-Jamaludeen Anees Kowsar gets a walkover from Kavya Gupta-Khushi Gupta

Mixed doubles

Nithin HV-K Ashwini Bhat bt 6-Adham Hatem Elgamal-Doha Hany (Egypt) 23-21, 21-7 (27 minutes)

8-Venkat Gaurav Prasad-Juhi Dewangan bt Sanjai Srivatsa Dhanraj-Pooja Dandu 21-16, 21-23, 21-19 (49 minutes)

Ayush Makhija-Deeksha Choudhary lost to 2-Rodion Alimov-Alina Davletova (Russia) 6-21, 7-21 (20 minutes)

Akshan Shetty-Simran Singhi gave a walkover to Hee Yong Kai Terry-Tan Wei Han (Singapore)

Sai Pratheek K-Gayatri Gopichand Pullela gave a walkover to 3-Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei (Malaysia)

Kashish Sharma-Saruni Sharma lost to 5-Chan Peng Soon-Valeree Siow (Malaysia) 6-21, 8-21 (19 minutes)

Siddharth Jakhar-Megha Morchana Bora lost to 1-Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (Malaysia) 6-21, 11-21 (23 minutes)

7-Dhruv Kapila-N Sikki Reddy gave a walkover to Konstantin Abramov-Anastasiia Akchurina (Russia).


Edited by Prasen Moudgal
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