Pint-sized Indian shuttler Shreyanshi Pardeshi had her superb run in the USD 17,500 Tata Open India Challenge halted when she was beaten in four games by Malaysia’s Soniia Cheah in the women’s singles final at the Cricket Club of India’s courts here on Sunday.
The 18-year-old Indore girl, a trainee at national badminton coach P Gopichand’s academy in Hyderabad for five years, was beaten by her much taller Kuala Lumpur-born rival, seeded fourth, 11-3 6-11 11-6 11-7 in 45 minutes.
Soniia, who is ranked below 80 in the world as compared to the Indian girl’s ranking which is over 400, also clinched the top prize of USD 1313 (INR 89,000 approx).
Shreyanshi, a former junior national runner-up, picked up USD 665 (INR 45,000) as the runner-up. The Indian girl, who had toppled two seeded foreign players on her way to the final, could not cope up with the smashes and clever drops played by her taller opponent, but still gave a good account of herself after having come through the qualifying stage.
After dropping the opening game tamely, Shreyanshi went all out in aggression when the second game stood equally poised to clinch four points in a row and level the score.
However, that was the last time she dominated play and had to play catch-up for the rest of the match. She saved two match-points in the fourth game before a cleverly disguised cross-court drop from the 23-yer-old Malaysian ended the title-contest.
“I should have slowed down the game a bit instead of playing flat shots. She had height advantage and my coach kept telling me to play high tosses and drops, but somehow I did not do so,” Shreyanshi said after her loss.
Looking at the positives, the 12th standard commerce student said, “It was a good experience for me. It was my first final at the seniors level. This experience will help me when I play my state tournament at Reva in MP, followed by the Syed Modi Memorial (Grand Prix at Lucknow in late August) and the senior nationals in Patna,” she said.