India jr international GP: Darshan’s dream ends in final; Muhammed, Sarunrak bag singles crown

Seeded Muhammad Halim As Sidiq (Indonesia) and Sarunrak Vitidsarn (Thailand) grabbed glory and in the bargain dashed Indian hopes in the India Junior International Grand Prix 2022, played in memory of the Late Sushant Chipalkatti, here on Sunday.

No. 7 Sidiq captured the men’s singles crown running down the dream run of unseeded local lad Darshan Pujari 21-13, 21-13 in 29 minutes, while Thailand’s No. 9 seed Sarunrak warded off the challenge of No. 3 Unnati Hooda 23-25, 21-17, 21-10. Both matches were a contrast, the men’s being the shortest contested in terms of time, while the women’s was the longest of all finals lasting 50 minutes.

The day was certainly not Darshan Pujari’s, who went into the final without conceding a single game. Pitted against the constantly attacking Indonesian, Darshan was done in by his rival’s clear winners and at times succumbed to unforced errors that he committed by the many.

In the first game, Darshan led early. He opened up a 3-1 advantage and made it 5-3. However, a burst of five points by the Indonesian turned the advantage away from Darshan, who trailed 5-8. Darshan managed another point (6-8) before the Indonesian changed sides leading 6-11. Two more bursts of 3-points each put Muhammed in the lead ay 17-7, which Darshan could not catch up.

In the second, the 18-year-old Darshan won the first point but then lost the next eight to trail 1-8, which was the story thereafter as he found it hard to catch up and surrender.

Sarunrak, 15, shows her family class

The women’s title was claimed by No. 9 seed Sarunrak Vitidsarn of Thailand, who rallied to shock No. 3 seed Unnati Hooda from India 23-25, 21-17, 21-10. Figuring in her third international singles final, the win was her second having won the Bulgaria Junior International in July. She also has a runners-up finish in the Turkey Junior International.

The Thai lass, the youngster sister of three-time World-Junior Champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn (2017-2019), wrapped up her encounter after clawing back from an opening game reverse that saw her concede seven-game points.

Sarunrak, who led 20-17 found her Indian rival Unnati level scores, then at 21-20, 22-21, 23-22 fell short of pushing the advantage after being subjected to a defiant and fighting World No. 75 Unnati.

Unnati, a winner at the Odisha Open in January, then levelled at 23-all with an overhead crosscourt placement, before pushing herself and going one-up.

However, in the next two games, the Thai ranked No. 125 in the world, ensured she took control and made no mistakes like she had made in the opener and completed her title after a 50-minute battle on the court.

For the Thai girl, this was the second higher seeded player that she defeated in two days – in the semis, she beat No. 1 Anupama Upadhaya and on Sunday it was No. 3 Unnati.

Ridhi pockets mixed doubles

Ridhi Kaur Toor remained the only player of the day to return to the court for a second final. Having lost the women’s doubles, she ensured that the mixed doubles title came her way.

Teaming up with Divyam Arora in the all-Indian unseeded players’ showdown they got past the stiff challenge of Prem Kumar Prabhu Raj Mohan/Kanishka Ganesan 21-17, 14-21, 21-15 in a 46 minutes encounter and stamp their authority.

Riddhi finished with the distinction of alighting the podium twice — runners up first and winner on her next visit.

In an all-Malaysian lineup, No. 4 Choi Jian Sheng/Bryan Jeremy Goonting surprised No. 2 seeds Juan Jeremy Zhen Liang/M Fazriq Mohamad Razif 21-17, 21-13 in an easy 34-minute encounter.

Telangana duo bags Women’s Doubles

In the first of the five titles decided Indian duo Vennala Kalagotla and Shriyanshi Valishetty bagged the women’s doubles crown.

In an evenly contested final the Telengana duo of Vennala and Shriyanshi got the better of Nardhana Ravishankar/Ridhi Kaur Toor in the battle of unseeded players. The winners won in straight games 21-19, 21-18 after a 32 minutes battle that lasted 79 points

RESULTS:

Men’s Singles (final): 7-Muhammad Halim As Sidiq (Indonesia) bt Darshan Pujari 21-13, 21-13

Women’s Singles (final): 9-Sarunrak Vitidsarn (Thailand) bt 3-Unnati Hooda 23-25, 21-17, 21-10

Men’s Doubles (final): 4-Choi Jian Sheng/ Bryan Jeremy Goonting (Malaysia) bt 2-Juan Jeremy Zhen Liang/ M Fazriq Mohamad Razif (Malaysia) 21-17, 21-13

Women’s Doubles (finals): Vennala Kalagotla/Shriyanshi Valishetty bt Nardhana Ravishankar/Ridhi Kaur Toor 21-19, 21-18

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