Thulasi shocks Ratnasari to win maiden senior badminton title
Mumbai: Unseeded P C Thulasi capped a brilliant run in the Tata Open India International Badminton Challenge by shocking top seed Fransiska Ratnasari of Indonesia in straight games to lift her first ever women's singles title here on Saturday.
The 19-year-old Kerala girl outclassed her more fancied foreign rival, ranked 42nd in the world, 21-15 21-13 in 35 minutes by exhibiting good court craft and swift movement to win the top prize of USD 2910 in the USD 15,000 prize money event at the Cricket Club of India.
Thulasi, who scalped second seed Jindapol Nitchaon of Thailand and national champion Sayali Gokhale on her way to the title clash, used the drop shots from the back court and some timely smashes to good effect to complete a memorable run in the tournament.
Thulasi, hailing from Thirissur, later said her continuous training and match practice at the P Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad, which she joined in October, had helped her tremendously.
"I joined the academy only in October though I had trained there with others for the Commonwealth Games. The hard work I am putting in there and the continuous matches and training has helped me improve my stamina," said Thulasi who has joined ONGC as a probationary assistant recently.
Later, in a high-class all-Indonesian men's final that saw breathtaking rallies, top seed Yunus Alamsyah overcame a first game deficit to down fifth seeded compatriot Tommy Sugiarto 11-21 21-13 21-17 in one hour. Thulasi's victory over Ratnasari, who was runner-up at last week's India Open in Hyderabad, was a very creditable showing.
The Indian girl allowed her Indonesian rival to bridge a 0-2 deficit and convert it into a 5-2 lead before making her comeback that saw her catch up with Ratnasari at 9-all.
From that stage onwards, it was the Indonesian who had to do the chasing as Thulasi gained the lead at 11-10 and then surged to win the opening game in 20 minutes with a string of drops and smashes.
Thulasi, who was the runner-up in the last Indore nationals, secured six points in a row early in the second game to lead 4-2 and never looked back.
A couple of lucky net-cords helped the Indian girl lead 16-11 before she went up to match point at 20-13 with another lucky break at the net. She completed the memorable win with another excellent drop to the sideline.
The men's final between two Indonesians, who knew each other's game well, produced the best contest for the crowd as first Sugiarto dominated before Yunus wrested the initiative with some acrobatic retrievals in the second and third games.
Sugiarto clinched the opener comfortably in 20 minutes against a rival who was error prone. But Yunus simply blew him away in the second by surging to a commanding 13-4 lead before winning the second in 15 minutes.
The third game looked totally one-sided with Yunus having taken a 11-5 lead before Sugiarto drew level. But the former stepped up the pace and led 19-14. A net dribble winner got him up to match point at 20-15 before his rival hit the shuttle wide to lose the match.
The results (all finals): Men's singles: Yunus Alamsyah (INA) bt Tommy Sugiarto (INA) 11-21 21-13 21-17
Women's singles: P C Thulasi (IND) bt Fransiska Ratnasari (INA) 21-15 21-13
Men's doubles: Riyadi Joko/Yoga Ukikasah (INA) bt Akshay Dewalkar/Arun Vishnu (IND) 24-22 21-16
Women's doubles: Savitree Amitapai/Somsri Nessara (THA) bt Jindapol Nitchaon/Jindapol Pattharaporn (THA) 21-6 21-18
Mixed doubles: Patipat Chalardchaleam/Savitree Amitapai bt Arun Vishnu/Aparna Balan (IND) 21-10 21-15.