Ruthvika Shivani Gadde continued with her impressive form in the last month by winning the Tata Open India International Challenge in Mumbai on Sunday. After giving Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu a run for her money in the semi-finals of the senior national championship in November, Gadde powered past Riya Mukherjee 21-12, 23-21 in 40 minutes to win the title.
India’s hope of another gold medallist in the 2017 Tata Open were however dashed when Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin beat the favourite Lakshya Sen in three games in the men’s singles final. The 22-year-old Thai, ranked 161 in the world, beat the third-ranked junior 15-21, 21-14, 21-19 in a thrilling final that saw a barrage of jump smashes from both the players and lasted an hour and 20 minutes.
Sen’s retrieving was top-notch throughout the match against a player who, like him, loves to attack. However, the 16-year-old erred in some of his shot selection, especially in crucial periods of the match, which eventually turned out to be the difference between the two players.
Despite the defeat, reaching his first ever final at a Challenge-level tournament and almost winning it would do the teenager’s confidence a world of good. Sen has already won two Series-level tournaments earlier this year in Hyderabad and Bulgaria. He also reached the semi-finals of the senior Nationals before losing to world No 3 K Srikanth.
Ruthvika Shivani Gadde (IND) beat Riya Mukherjee (IND) 21-12, 23-21
Sitthikom Thammasin (THA) beat Lakshya Sen (IND) 15-21, 21-14, 21-19
Ng Tsz Yau and Yeung Nga Ting (HKG) beat Ng Wing Yung and Yuen Sin Ying (HKG) 23-25, 21-14, 21-19
Maneepong Jongjit and Nanthakarn Yordphaisong (THA) beat Aaron Chia and Wooi Yik Soh (MAL) 21-6, 21-9
Hee Chun Mak and Yeung Nga Ting (HKG) beat Chang Tak Ching and Ng Wing Yung (HKG) 21-11, 17-21, 21-18