In a thrilling week of badminton at the Abu Dhabi Masters 2023, India celebrated not one, but two monumental victories that will echo in the annals of the sport. The dynamic pairing of Ashwini Ponnappa and Tanisha Crasto, the World No 38, lived up to their top-seed status, claiming their first-ever World Tour title in a thrilling encounter against Denmark’s Julie Finne-Ipsen and Mai Surrow. The duo’s journey was a rollercoaster, overcoming challenges and finishing strong, proving their mettle in a world-class competition. With a nail-biting three-game battle, the Indians emerged victorious, winning 21-16, 16-21, 21-8 in 58 minutes.
Ponnappa and Crasto’s remarkable journey saw them conquer opponents with finesse, including a compelling victory against world No 13 Rena Miyaura and Ayako Sakuramoto in Finland. The semifinals marked an all-Indian showdown where they triumphed over Sikki Reddy and Arathi Sara Sunil. In the final, after a momentary setback in the second game, they rallied back, demonstrating resilience and determination, eventually clinching their maiden World Tour title.
In women’s singles, the spotlight was on the young sensation, Unnati Hooda, aged just 16. In a face-off against 20-year-old Samiya Imad Farooqui, Unnati displayed exceptional prowess. With incredible agility and strategic play, she emerged victorious, securing her second Super 100 title with a scoreline of 21-16, 22-20 in 40 minutes. Hooda’s journey to the top included defeating top-seed and world No 46 Thet Htar Thuzar, showcasing her potential against top-ranked players.
The intensity of the matches, the strategic brilliance, and the unwavering spirit of these athletes made this tournament unforgettable. Unnati Hooda’s flawless run in the singles event, coupled with Ashwini Ponnappa and Tanisha Crasto’s historic victory in doubles, marks a new chapter in Indian badminton history. These triumphs not only add to India’s reputation on the global stage but also inspire generations of aspiring players.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning the commendable performance of Kiran George and Raghu Mariswamy in the men’s singles category, reflecting the depth of talent within the Indian badminton circuit.
Congratulations pour in for Ashwini, Tanisha, and Unnati, who have showcased exceptional skill, determination, and sportsmanship. These victories are not just personal achievements but are a source of national pride. India’s badminton stars have indeed shone brightly, leaving an indelible mark on the world stage.
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