Unnati Hooda continued her giant-killing run to create history on the concluding day of the Odisha Open BWF World Tour Super 100 badminton tournament in Cuttack on Sunday.
Unnati won 21-18, 21-11 in just 35 minutes to win her maiden international title. Unnati had a poor start and was trailing 0-4 initially. Smit looked in good touch as she maintained her lead until the break. Both Unnati and world No. 163 Smit were going neck and neck for most of the game.
At 18 all, it looked like the game would go the distance. However, Unnati notched up three straight points to clinch the first game 21-18.
There was one-way traffic in the second game as Unnati led from start to finish. At one stage, Unnati was comfortably placed at 17-4 and seemed in a hurry to finish it off quickly.
But the 20-year-old Smit reeled off six points in succession to reduce the deficit. It hardly made any difference to the final outcome as her opponent sealed the match with another three-point burst towards the end.
Unnati did not lose a single game on way to triumph
Riding on the first game momentum, world No. 418 Unnati bagged the second game without much difficulty as Smit had no answer to her opponent’s aggressive approach.
It has been a dream week for Unnati. Her complete domination could be gauged by the fact that she did not lose a single game on her way to the championship.
The promising teenager edged past in-form Malvika Bansod 24-22, 24-22 in the semifinals on Saturday.
She was at her dominating best in the quarterfinals when she steamrolled 18-year-old Samiya Imad Farooqui 21-10, 21-15.
In the second round, she upset eighth seed Disha Gupta of the USA 21-6, 21-9 in just 20 minutes.
Kiran George defeats Priyanshu Rajawat in men’s singles final
Unseeded Kiran George also emerged triumphant in the USD 75,000 tournament. The 21-year-old Kiran George squeezed past Priyanshu Rajawat 21-15, 14-21, 21-18 in a nail-biting men’s singles summit clash.
World No. 80 Kiran had to dig deep into his physical and mental reserves to beat Priyanshu in an hour-long marathon battle that swung both ways until the very end.
Kiran was first off the mark, opening up a 9-5 lead in the opening game, but Priyanshu fought back to level the score at 12-12. But the Madhya Pradesh youngster could not maintain the tempo as he committed a number of unforced errors.
Kiran capitalized on his opponent’s mistakes to win nine of the next 12 points to pocket the game.
Priyanshu had to play catch-up at the start of the second game as well but he clinched eight straight points from 6-8 to open up a sizable lead and never looked back.
With the momentum firmly in favor of Priyanshu, the 19-year-old was playing with confidence and verve at the start of the third and final game. World No. 100 Priyanshu took a 10-4 lead before Kiran staged a comeback.
Kiran went on the offensive as he didn’t have much to lose and came out on top as he bagged 12 of the next 14 points to take a 6-point lead. However, unforced errors cropped into his game just as he looked comfortably on his way to victory.
This allowed Priyanshu to first close the gap to 16-17 and then level scores to 18-18. However, Kiran had the final laugh as he clinched three straight points and the single’s champions’ trophy.
Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand bag the women’s doubles title
In the doubles category, Treesa Jolly failed to grab the double crown as she won the women’s doubles title but ended up on the losing side in mixed doubles.
Syed Modi International finalists Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand defeated compatriots Sanyogita Ghorpade and Shruti Mishra 21-12, 21-10 in less than half an hour.
Earlier, Treesa and MR Arjun had gone down 16-21, 20-22 against Sri Lanka’s Sachin Dias and Thilini Hendahewa in the mixed doubles final.
The Indian combination of PS Ravikrishna and Udayakumar Shankar Prasad could not build on their first game heroics. The Indian men’s doubles pair went down 18-21, 21-14, 21-16 against Malaysia’s Nur Mohd Azriyn and Khim Wah Lim despite winning the first game.
MR Arjun-Treesa Jolly lost to Sachin Dias-Thilini Hendahewa (Sri Lanka) 16-21, 20-22 (36 minutes)
Unnati Hooda bt Smit Toshniwal 21-18, 21-11 (35 minutes)
Kiran George bt Priyanshu Rajawat 21-15, 14-21, 21-18 (58 minutes)
5-Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand Pullela bt 8-Sanyogita Ghorpade-Shruti Mishra 21-12, 21-10 (28 minutes)
Ravikrishna PS-Sankar Prasad Udayakumar lost to Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub Azriyn-Lim Khim Wah (Malaysia) 21-18, 14-21, 16-21 (51 minutes).