Malvika Bansod has added another feather to her cap in this breakthrough season.
The 20-year-old started the year with a quarterfinal finish – after beating (albeit off-colour) former World No 1 Saina Nehwal – at the India Open Super 500. In the following week, she finished runner-up at the Syed Modi International Super 300, losing to PV Sindhu in the final.
Then, she finished a Super 100 event in Cuttack in the semi-final.
On Tuesday, at the Korea Open Super 500, the World No 63 came from behind to upset World No 24 Han Yue from China 20-22, 22-20, 21-10 in a thrilling 56-minute match.
Yue, the 22-year-old from Zhangzhou has been ranked as high as 12th in the world. And she used her experience to make a difference in the first game to save four game points. Bansod had taken a strong 20-16 lead, but the Chinese shuttler won the next six consecutive points to take the first game.
Bansod came back strongly, and led throughout the second set – even going up 20-17. Again, Yue threatened to make a strong comeback by levelling the score, but it was the Indian who managed to get the next two points and send the match into a deciding game.
The final game though was one-way traffic for the Indian. The duo were level at 7-7, but from there Bansod went on to win 14 of the next 17 points – including nine in a row from 12-10.
Bansod’s win wasn’t the only one for an Indian on the day.
The in-form Lakshya Sen took 62 minutes to get the better of South Korea’s Ji Hoon Choi. The World No 9 and sixth seed had to overcome a first-game loss to beat notch a tight 14-21, 21-16, 21-18 win.
Sen and Bansod’s wins though were the only positives on the day for India.
HS Prannoy bowed-out tamely when World No 71 June Wei Cheam of Malaysia came up with an upset 21-17, 21-7 win over the Indian.
And there were no wins for the two men’s doubles teams from India that competed on Tuesday.
The team of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala lost 21-14, 21-19 to Indonesian pair Pramudya Kusumawardana and Yeremia Rambitian.
Later, Bokka Navaneeth and B Sumeeth Reddy lost to sixth seeded Malaysian pair Yew Sin Ong and Ee Yi Teo 21-14, 21-12.
Krishna Prasad Garaga/Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala lost to Pramudya Kusumawardana/Yeremia Rambitian (INA) 21-14, 21-19
Bokka Navaneeth/B Sumeeth Reddy lost to Yew Sin Ong/Ee Yi Teo (MAS) 21-14, 21-12
HS Prannoy lost to June Wei Cheam (MAS) 21-17, 21-7
Lakshya Sen beat Ji Hoon CHOI (KOR) 14-21, 21-16, 21-18
Malvika Bansod beat Han Yue (CHN) 20-22, 22-20, 21-10