India’s Ashmita Chaliha overcame fifth-seed and world number 28 Evgeniya Kosetskaya of Russia 24-22, 21-16 in the opening round of the India Open badminton tournament on Tuesday. Chaliha began well, employing her down-the-line smashes to open up an 11-5 lead in the opening game and looked comfortable against the tall Russian at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall.
However, she began making a lot of errors after the break and Kosetsyaka pounced on the opportunity to first level the score at 14-14 and then again fought back from 16-19 to earn her first game point.
But the Guwahati-girl, who had lost to the Russian in their earlier encounter back in 2019, managed to regroup herself in time to force the Russian to make an unforced error and then save two more game points before clinching the game with a smash.
The second game followed a similar trajectory as Chaliha opened up an 11-4 lead only for the Russian to close into 19-16. However, the Indian was more in control this time around and kept her cool under pressure to finish off the match in 31 minutes.
“I haven’t played a lot of matches in the last few years. So, I was nervous and that affected me midway in the opening game. But once I won the first game, I was more confident and so I was relaxed in the second game,” she said after the match.
She will now face France’s Yaelle Hoyaux who defeated Riya Mookerjee of India.
In the day’s other matches in the opening session, K Sai Prateekh and Gayatri Gopichand defeated Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Castro 21-16, 16-21, 21-17 while men’s doubles top seeds Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan got their campaign off to a winning start by beating Prem Singh Chouhan and Rajesh Verma 21-18, 21-10.
In the women’s doubles first-round encounter, former junior national champions Ritika Thaker and Simran Singh fought back after losing the opening game to beat Mariia Stoliarenko and Yelyzaveta Zharka of Ukraine 14-21, 22-20, 21-19 to advance to the second round.
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