Indian paddler Reeth Rishya recently became the first Indian woman to win a singles crown in a pro-tour when she beat compatriot Ankita Das 4-2 (6-11, 11-4, 11-6, 16-18, 11-1, 11-6) at the ITTF Ecuador International Open table tennis tournament.
The paddler has been in good form ever since action resumed after the COVID-19 pandemic. Having been on the table tennis circuit for close to a decade, Reeth Rishya has mastered the nuances of the game and is now looking ahead to bigger quests.
She played her first Senior National Ranking tournament final earlier this year, losing to Manika Batra. Taking the loss in her stride and valuing the rich experience, Reeth Rishya made sure to up her ante and her hard work bore fruit when she clinched her first-ever pro-tour singles title in Ecuador.
Speaking to Sportskeeda, Reeth Rishya said it was a good experience, given the tough conditions.
"This is my first pro-tour singles title at this level," she said. "It will be cherished as the conditions weren't easy. As Ecuador is at a high altitude, the balls were floating and I had to manage and change my game strategy to adapt to the conditions."
Reeth Rishya was slated to play the qualifiers at the ITTF Eucador Open but a berth in the main draw was confirmed soon after as there were not many registrations. It came as a blessing in disguise as Rishya took the time to understand the conditions better and mold her game plan accordingly.
"My flight from India was on November 1st, which got canceled and I eventually reached there on November 3rd," she recalled. "My first match was slated for November 5th. So, I spent an entire day at the venue observing how the conditions were. Once I got the hang of it, it was all about adjusting and performing accordingly."
Reeth Rishya's game has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years
Introspection is Reeth Rishya's second name and the paddler has seen a good improvement in her game, especially in the last couple of years.
Her consistency on the table has helped her enter the summit clashes of many tournaments and has been a huge learning curve.
Rishya is also undergoing mental conditioning sessions - breathing exercises, being calm - along with her training schedule.
The paddler is also playing in the table tennis league in Portugal for Porto and that has also put her in good stead. Speaking on how she has improved, Rishya said:
"My game has become more stable now. I can say I have started to understand how to play the sport now. I have seen myself becoming more consistent and my mental strength has also been good. I have become a lot calmer and now I look forward to making a lot of progress with respect to my game and I am sure the performance will follow."
Looking ahead, Reeth Rishya is focusing on the National Ranking Tournaments in Jharkhand and Puducherry before returning to Portugal to play in the league. The title win at the Ecuador Open would put the paddler in good stead for more titles in the future.