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Teen Ruthvika stuns Pantawane to lift Tata Open

Gadde Ruthvika Shivani stunned World No 74 and fourth seeded Arundhati Pantawane 19-21, 21-18, 21-14 to lift the Tata Open India International Challenge title at the Cricket Club of India's badminton courts yesterday.

Gadde Ruthvika Shivani returns to Arundhati Pantawane at the Tata Open India International Challenge Tournament at CCI. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Gadde Ruthvika Shivani returns to Arundhati Pantawane at the Tata Open India International Challenge Tournament at CCI. Pic/Bipin Kokate 

The unseeded 17-year-old took 50 minutes to snatch the title away from 25-year-old Pantawane, whom she also defeated in last month's All India Senior Ranking Tournament in Gandhidham (Gujarat). The win happens to be the teenager's maiden senior international title.

It was Pantawane, the reigning National Games champion, who led 8-2 in the opening game. Ruthvika though clawed back to make it 14-16, before some errors from her saw Pantawane win 21-19.

Ruthvika then made a strong comeback in the second game as she started attacking. Both shuttlers were going neck-to-neck till 14-14. The Hyderabadi played some brilliant deceptive baseline shots combined with some fine net play to take a 20-17 lead before wrapping up Game Two 21-18.

In the decider, however, a more confident Ruthvika took a 17-13 lead and didn't let her Gopichand Academy mate, Pantawane, dominate the game winning it 21-14.

The youngster later admitted that the win was unexpected. "This was my first senior international final so I was very nervous.

This is my biggest win so far and Mumbai will always be special. Though everyone expected me to win, I was not confident that I would win. Hence, I had booked a return flight to Hyderabad for tonight (9.20pm) which I had to eventually cancel," said the FY BCom student of St Ann's College, Hyderabad.

Other results
> Men's singles: 1-HS Prannoy bt 4-RMV Gurusaidutt 21-16, 20-22, 21-17;
> Men's doubles: 1-Manu Attri/B Sumeeth Reddy bt Shlok Ramchandran/Sanyam Shukla 21-15, 21-15;
> Women's doubles: Aparna Balan/Prajakta Sawant bt J Meghana/K Maneesha 21-13, 10-21, 21-13;
> Mixed Doubles: 3-Manu Attri/N Sikki Reddy bt 1-Akshay Dewalkar/Pradnya Gadre 21-19, 19-21, 21-10.

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