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Unnati Hooda wins Odisha Open title; becomes youngest Indian to win Super 100 event

The 14-year-old Indian badminton player defeated Smit Toshniwal in straight games to clinch the women’s singles title. Kiran George won the men’s singles crown.

2 min By Ali Asgar Nalwala
Unnati Hooda
(Picture by Badminton Association of India / Twitter)

Unnati Hooda defeated fellow Indian badminton player Smit Toshniwal in the women’s singles final match at the Odisha Open 2022 in Cuttack on Sunday.

With the win, Unnati Hooda, 14, became the youngest-ever Indian to win a BWF Super 100 tournament. She beat 21-year-old Smit Toshniwal 21-18, 21-11 in 35 minutes to lift the inaugural Odisha Open women’s singles title.

Unnati Hooda, who had made her debut on the senior international circuit only in October last year, started the match on the backfoot, trailing 11-7 at the first mid-game interval.

The Rohtak shuttler, however, mounted a comeback to level the score. With the score at 18-18, Unnati Hooda won three straight points to claim the first game.

Riding on the momentum, Unnati Hooda, the world No. 418, dominated the world No. 163 Smit Toshniwal for the rest of the match and sealed the contest in straight games.

Unnati Hooda had also made the final of the India International Challenge in October last year.

Earlier in the semi-final, Unnati Hooda had accounted for pre-tournament favourite Malvika Bansod in straight games.

In the women’s doubles, Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand, daughter of former All England Open champion and Indian badminton legend Pullela Gopichand, beat Sanyogita Ghorpade and Shruti Mishra 21-12, 21-10 in the final to claim the title.

The men’s singles crown, meanwhile, went to 21-year-old Kiran George, who overcame a stiff challenge from Priyanshu Rajawat in the decider.

Kiran George, who won the Polish International last year, defeated 19-year-old Priyanshu Rajawat 21-15, 14-21, 21-18 in a 58-minute-long contest.

In the mixed doubles final, Sri Lanka’s Sachin Dias and Thilini Hendadahewa defeated India's MR Arjun and Treesa Jolly 21-16, 22-20.

In the men’s doubles, the Malaysian pair of Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub and Lim Khim Wah came from a game down to beat India’s Sankar Prasad Udayakumar and PS Ravi Krishna 18-21, 21-14, 21-16.

Odisha Open 2022 badminton winners

Men’s singles: Kiran George (India)

Women’s singles: Unnati Hooda (India)

Men’s doubles: Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub / Lim Khim Wah (Malaysia)

Women’s doubles: Treesa Jolly / Gayatri Gopichand Pullela (India)

Mixed doubles: Sachin Dias / Thilini Hendahewa (Sri Lanka)

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