VV Natu badminton tournament: Pune’s Shruti smashes through the semisNovember 17, 2019, Pune
Local favourite and the tournament’s 13th seed Shruti Mundada stamped her presence at the penultimate stage of the Yonex Sunrise, VV Natu All India Senior Ranking Badminton Tournament, 2019, after she defeated city’s shuttler Purva Barve in the semi-final at the Modern sports complex on Saturday.
Shruti will face 22-year-old Ruthvika Gadde from Telangana in the final on Sunday.
Strong with her half-smashes, Purva took a commanding lead in the first game of the match. Playing quite a few strong strokes, the 19-year-old took charge of the game and earned a lead of 6 points at the interval. However, complacency crept into her game, allowing the 25-year-old opponent to recover from her shoddy start to catch up with the teenager. Shruti cut the deficit down to just two points as Purva still lead 16-14.
A superbly placed smash by Shruti established a one-point difference, but Purva responded with a similar strike to reinstate a two-point cushion. The cushion did not last long time as Shruti’s splendid recovery was evident. The 19-year-old was just a point away from winning the first game, but after cutting down the deficit from six points to just one, parity was established as both players hit the 20-point mark, due to Shruti’s commendable performance.
As the game went into a tie-break, Shruti took the lead for the first time in the game, at the most crucial point. The 25-year-old did not step back and she nicked the winning point after an enthralling rally between the two semi-finalists. Shruti completed her comeback and took the first game after a stunning smash which caught her opponent off guard.
In contrast to the first game, Shruti started the second on a confident note. Looking shaky in the initial stages of the first game, she was a positive opposite in the second. Allowing her opponent just two points, the 25-year-old took a commanding five-point lead. By the interval of the second game, Shruti extended her lead to seven points, leaving Purva to chase shadows.
After the interval, a prolific Shruti allowed Purva to score just two more points. The 19-year-old had a tough time returning the smashes that she faced and struggled to play along. Shruti got a chance to seize the opportunity to finish the match in straight games and she outplayed Purva towards the end and won the second game with a margin of fifteen points.
Purva was a tough opponent for Shruti. The unseeded 19-year-old had eliminated two seeded players – third seed Riya Mookerjee and seventh seed Malvika Bansod to reach the semi-final stage of the tournament. Shruti, on the other hand, has extended her winning run to five matches. The 25-year-old has only lost one game out of ten in these matches making her a very strong opponent in the final.
Top seeds bow out
Siddharth Singh from Chhattisgarh and Jagadeesh Kalaga from Andhra Pradesh shocked the masses as both players eliminated the top-2 seeds of the tournament in their respective matches. Singh lost his first game against top-seed Ansal Yadav from Uttar Pradesh, but managed to bounce back in the following two games to cement his place in the final of the men’s singles category, eliminating Yadav in the process.