Aashi Rawat shocks top seed Malvika Bansod in Round 2 of BWF International Challenge in Nagpur | Badminton News

NAGPUR: Aashi Rawat‘s quick dash from the baseline and a full stretch, which even injured her right foot, to lift an acutely placed net shot from top-seed Malvika Bansod helped her save a match point on Thursday.
The 19-year-old was limping after the stretch, but it was one of those days when nothing could stop her. Aashi stood her ground in pain and yet threw the kitchen sink to force Malvika into two back-to-back unforced errors, stunning the latter 15-21, 21-16, 22-20 in 67 minutes, in round 2 of India Maharashtra International Challenge.
Before the southpaw Malvika secured a match point, she was trailing for most of the time in the decider. Aashi had taken a three-point lead twice (10-7 & 13-10) at Divisional Sports Complex, Mankapur.
When the birthday girl – Malvika – was trailing 8-11 in the decider, she opted for a break, which was followed by a crackling smash after a long rally that put her ahead 14-13. Fortune fluctuated on every point, but the local talent won two back-to-back points to earn the match point, which was spectacularly saved by the Delhi girl.
The city’s international shuttler had the first game in her pocket. She was under control halfway through the second game with a three-point lead (11-8). The home girl suddenly lost the momentum and a series of unforced errors followed post the break.
Three straight errors from Malvika – one return on net, one wide return and a free point due to wrong judgement of baseline – resulted in Aashi staging a comeback (11-11).
“When Malvika was leading, I rallied back to make it 11-11 in the second game. That’s when I realized, I can win this match. I even went on to win the game. That pushed me to go for the kill in the decider,” said Aashi, who was getting her foot attended by a physio after the match.
The world no.43 was involving Aashi in rallies and tried to keep her rival deep in the court. But the India no.8 was planting smart returns on the right side of the top-seed. And when left-handed Malvika framed a return from her right, it mostly travelled to Aashi’s forehand, which is her stronger area.
“She is a rally player. Scoring points against her was not going to be easy. I was ready to play long rallies of at least 20 strokes and we even had many long rallies,” said Aashi, who recorded third win over Malvika in as many matches they played so far.
The international shuttler, who was playing this event after the BWF World Championship, made Aashi sweat it out for every point by making her run across the court.
“I was a bit tired by the time we entered the third game but more determined to put the shuttle back in her court during the rallies,” Aashi added. The intention of sending the shuttle back to Malvika’s court no matter what proved to be decisive for the younger talent.

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