Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Indian teenage shuttler Devika Sihag wins back-to-back titles in Europe | Badminton News – Times of India

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JAIPUR: Moments after Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty bagged their second French Open title in Paris on Sunday, another Indian shuttler Devika Sihag emerged triumphant in Portugal.
Teenage sensation Devika won the women’s singles title at the 59 Portugal International Championships 2024 which concluded at Caldas da Rainha, Portugal late on Sunday.
Unseeded Devika stunned second seed Rachel Chan of Canada 21-16, 21-16 in a one-sided summit clash. Eighteen-year-old Devika dominated her world No. 63 Canadian opponent to grab back-to-back titles in Europe.
On January 21, Devika had opened her international title account by pocketing the Swedish Open. A week before winning the Swedish Open, she had finished as runner-up at the Estonian International.
On Sunday, the Haryana girl marked her third successive appearance in the final of the European season by ousting Chan in a 37-minute final.
World No. 174 Devika was in brilliant form throughout the week and shocked seventh seed Agnes Korosi of Hungary 21-11, 21-10 in the quarter final. The fast-rising Indian shuttler hardly broke any sweat while dismissing world No. 97 Hungarian.
However, Devika’s was stretched to the limit in the semis by Singapore’s Lee Xin Yi Megan. The promising qualifier had knocked out top seed Clara Azurmendi of Spain in the third round and was oozing with confidence. Devika, a trainee of Bengaluru-based Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA), overcame the mid-match slump to edge past Megan 21-12, 19-21, 21-10 in 54 minutes to storm into the final.
“I am feeling really happy by winning back-to-back titles. In all the three tournaments in Europe this season, I reached the finals and won two of them. I think it is the best phase of my career,” an elated Devika told TOI on Monday.
Ever since Devika joined the PPBA in 2021, she has been making rapid progress. She is the reigning national junior champion and represented the Indian team at the World School Games held at Normandy, France in 2022. She thanked the PPBA coaches for the phenomenal rise.
“I would like to give credit for my success to my parents, coaches and the entire support staff of PPBA. I want to maintain my good form for the rest of the season. I will now focus on the Dutch International Series this week,” added Devika.
One of the senior PPBA coaches Sagar Chopda was delighted to see Devika going from strength to strength.
“It was another good consistent performance from Devika. It’s her second consecutive international title in Europe and third finals in a row. She had three good wins in this tournament. Hope she plays with the same confidence in the Dutch International Series this week,” said Chopda.
The former international shuttler said they are planning to start sending Devika for bigger events once this circuit is over.

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