Ashwini Ponnappa – Tanisha Crasto Clinch Guwahati Masters Super 100 Title

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-PTI

Indian women’s doubles pair of Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Ponnappa on Sunday secured their second Super 100 title with a straight-game win over Chinese Taipei’s Sung Shuo Yun and Yu Chien Hui at the Guwahati Masters.

The second-seeded Indian combination, which finished runners-up at the Syed Modi International Super 300 tournament last week in Lucknow, beat the world no. 81 combination 21-13, 21-19 in a 40-minute final.

This was the third title for the Indian pair, which had clinched the Abu Dhabi Masters Super 100 and Nantes International Challenge this year.

The Indian duo didn’t face much resistance in the opening game as it led 6-2 and kept moving ahead, taking an 11-7 advantage at the interval. After resumption, Ashwini and Tanisha kept dominating the rallies to leave their opponents far behind.

The world no. 28 Indian pair again had a 4-1 lead which swelled to 12-6 in a jiffy but the Taiwanese combination led a fight-back with five straight points to make it 11-12.

Shuo and Chien drew parity at 16-16 and 19-19 but the Indians quelled the challenge, sealing the issue with the required two points.

Ashwini, 34, and 20-year-old Tanisha started playing together only in January this year and were part of India’s Asian Games squad which competed in Hangzhou, China in September-October.

“I am happy with how we played. Very grateful to reach the final and win. We looked after our body and executed our plans. Focus and determination last two weeks have been great,” said Ashwini after the match.

“Both of us are explosive (players) and she is good at the nets and I am known for my smashes from the back court. So, I think, we are complementing each other. We rotate well.”

Ashwini added that errors crept in after the change of sides but she and Tanisha kept their cool to finally win a close contest.

“We started off on the better side and had a good first game but having moved to the tricker side, it was important to hold our nerves. Because we could have gone off-track as the opponents were playing well. But we both were calm and focused.

“They (opponents) started playing better and we made mistakes. It is hard to keep focus as sometimes you tend to be overexcited and hurry up, but I am happy we managed to stay calm,” added Ashwini.

One of India’s finest doubles exponents, Ashwini has enjoyed a lot of success with Jwala Gutta, winning the 2011 World Championships bronze and the gold and silver medals at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games respectively.

Ashwini and Jwala had also participated in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics in London and Rio de Janeiro but couldn’t cross the group stage on both occasions.

After the 2016 Games, the duo parted ways and Ashwini forged an alliance with N Sikki Reddy. The pair won the 2018 CWG bronze medal, while Ashwini was also instrumental in guiding India to a first-ever mixed team gold in Gold Coast.

Once Ashwini and Sikki parted ways last year, the former started partnering Tanisha, who was born in Dubai.

In fact, Tanisha represented Bahrain and won her first major BWF title at the 2016 Bahrain International Challenge. She moved to India in 2018 and started playing in the domestic circuit, representing Goa.

Three years later, Tanisha made it to the Indian team for the Uber Cup and Sudirman Cup.

Initially, she found success in mixed doubles with Ishaan Bhatnagar, rising to a career-high of world number 18 but an injury to her partner left her stranded as she decided to focus on women’s doubles.

After struggling to find a long-term partner, Tanisha finally joined hands with Ashwini and the rest is history.

Featured Image: Guwahati Plus

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