Russian Open Grand Prix 2016: Ruthvika Shivani Gadde, Pranaav Jerry Chopra-Sikki Reddy crowned champions
India ended a memorable campaign at the Russian Open Grand Prix in Vladivostok on Sunday with two titles and a runner-up finish.19-year-old Ruthvika Shivani Gadde, touted as the biggest talent of the next generation, captured the women’s singles title with a 21-10, 21-13 victory over local star Evgeniya Kosetskaya in just 26 minutes.
This is her maiden title at the Grand Prix level and her fourth international title overall.
Also read: One for the future - Ruthvika Shivani Gadde
More glory for India with mixed doubles title
Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy added to India’s tally by winning the mixed doubles title. The second seeds prevailed 21-17, 21-19 over the Russian team of Vladimir Ivanov and Valeria Sorokina in a tightly-contested final that lasted 32 minutes. Ivanov and Sorokina had toppled the top seeds Evgenij Dremin and Evgenia Dimova in straight games in the semi-finals but they ran out of steam against the experienced Indian pair in the summit clash.
However, there was disappointment in the men’s singles as young talent Siril Verma could not match the feats of his compatriots. The 17-year-old went down fighting 21-16, 19-21, 10-21 to the top seed Zulfadli Zulkiffli of Malaysia.
The results at the Russian Grand Prix totally establish that India’s future in badminton looks bright. Verma has been a prolific junior and has even been ranked No. 1. In November, he became the first Indian to reach the final of the World Junior Championships after Saina Nehwal in 2008.
Shivani too has been on the rise for a few years before making rapid strides this year. In February, she produced a stunning result when she upset the Rio Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu at the South Asian Games en route to the gold medal. She followed it up with another big achievement when she outclassed then World No. 20 Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand to seal India’s spot in the Uber Cup semi-finals.