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Sai Praneeth, Ruthvika win singles titles

Sai Praneeth, Ruthvika win singles titles
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Top seed H S Prannoy and unseeded junior shuttler Ruthvika Shivani Gadde clinched the men’s and women’s singles titles respectively in the USD 25,000 Tata Open India International Challenge badminton tournament, here on Sunday.

Prannoy, the India no. 4 and world no. 22, defeated a fighting R M V Gurusaidutt - ranked 45th in the world - in a thrilling men’s singles final 21-16 20-22 21-17 that lasted 64 minutes at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) courts.

Earlier, rising 17-year-old Hyderabad shuttler Ruthvika, continued her impressive run by stunning fourth seed Arundhati Pantawane, on a comeback trail after a shoulder injury, 19-21 21-18 21-14 in the 50-minute long women’s singles final.

It was the second time that Ruthvika had beaten her more experienced rival, having come out trumps in their previous meeting in the senior ranking tournament at Gandhidam in October.
In the men’s final, Prannoy subdued the never-say-die Gurusaidutt after an intense battle between two trainees of the Hyderabad-based Gopichand Academy that thrilled the crowd.

Both shuttlers fought for every point with Prannoy superior in his smashing and in net play and his rival defending well and even saving a match point in the second game when he was down 19-20.
In the first game, Prannoy came from behind after he trailed 10-13 to draw level and then kept his nose ahead to win the game with some telling smashes and net dribbles.

The second game saw the lead changing hand constantly before the two players were deadlocked at 19-all when Prannoy surged ahead to hold a match point when Guru smashed wide.
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