India Junior International GP: Meiraba, Crasto-Bhatnagar pair go down fighting in finals

Meiraba Luwang took on the 495th-ranked Malaysian Ken Yon Ong, who went on to win 13-21, 21-19, 23-21.

Meiraba Luwang in action at the Yonex Sunrise India Junior International Grand Prix in Pune.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

India’s hopes of securing twin titles at home were dashed with both Meiraba Luwang and mixed doubles pair of Tanisha Crasto and Ishaan Bhatnagar losing their respective finals at the Yonex Sunrise India Junior International Grand Prix here Sunday.

Russian Junior White Nights champion Meiraba, placed at the 15th spot in the World Junior Rankings, was the unanimous favourite for the boys’ singles crown against the 495th Ken Yon Ong.

However, the Malaysian refused to let the huge gulf in the rankings matter when he overturned a slow start to secure a stunning 13-21, 21-19, 23-21 victory over the Manipur shuttler.

In the decider, Meiraba trailed at 13-16 only to claw his way back to level the game at 17-17.

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In a tight finish, the Indian had a match point at 20-19 which he was unable to convert in the face of the onslaught from the determined Ong, who completed the upset in 1 hour 7 minutes.

Tanisha and Bhatnagar’s dream of winning three titles in as many weeks failed to materialize when they went down 12-21, 22-20, 20-22 to second seeds Ratchapol Makkasasithorn and Benyapa Aimsaard in a gruelling final.

Tanisha and Bhatnagar had scooped up titles at All India Junior Ranking Tournaments in Panchkula and Bangalore over the last couple of weeks.

In women’s singles, top seed Benyapa Aimsaard was crowned the champion after she managed to stave off a stiff resistance from second seed Riko Gunji.

The Asian Junior Championships bronze medallist dropped the middle game and had to dig deep to pull off a 21-19, 18-21, 23-21 win in 61 minutes.

Japanese third seeds Kaho Osawa and Hinata Suzuki outlasted Thai top seeds Pornpicha Choeikeewong and Pornnicha Suwatnodom 13-21, 21-15, 21-14 to win the girls’ doubles title in 50 minutes.

In boys’ doubles, Malaysian fifth seeds Jhy Dar Ooi and Roy King Yap toppled the Japanese third seeds Takuma Kawamoto and Tsubasa Kawamura 17-21, 21-16, 23-21 to claim the title.

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