Hyderabad: Hyderabad shuttler Jakka Vaishnavi Reddy came back on to the badminton circuit with a bang by winning the Yonex Belgian Junior championship in Herstal, Belgium, on Sunday.
Having been out of action for six months because of knee and ankle injuries, the recovery from which required extensive physiotheraphy, Vaishnavi got back into her groove confidently.
Seeded No.1, she defeated local favourite Clara Lassaux in the top-two clash to take the women’s singles Under 19 title. The 17-year-old bagged the keenly contested first game at 21-17 before accelerating a bit to pull ahead and take the second at 21-15 to settle the match in straight games.
She had a relatively easy outing in the semifinal, getting past German 15th seed Xenia Kolmel in just 21 minutes, with a 21-11, 21-14 verdict.
The quarterfinal was even quicker as Vaishnavi floored Florentine Schoffski of Germany 21-13, 21-5 in 19 minutes.
However, she was tested in the third round as 12th seed Leona Michalski put up a tough fight. After a see-saw battle, the German took the first game at 24-22. The sparring continued in the second game too before Vaishnavi clinched it at 21-19. The Indian however upped the ante in the third to sweep it at 21-9 and advance.
Vaishnavi did not break much sweat in the first and second rounds, cantering past Lotte Geerts of Belgium 21-10, 21-10 and Selina Giesler of Germany 21-10, 21-8 respectively.
Vaishnavi is currently World No.9 among juniors, the best ranked Indian, with Samiya Imad Farooqui (No.27) and Gayatri Gopichand Pullela (No.29) second and third in women’s singles.
Shuttlers from Germany, Belgium, France, England, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Poland took part in the tournament organised by the Belgian Badminton Federation affiliated to the Badminton World Federation.
Women’s Under 19 singles final: Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka (India, 1) bt Clara Lassaux (Belgium, 2) 21-17, 21-15. Semifinal: Vaishnavi bt Xenia Kolmel (Germany, 15) 21-11, 21-14. Quarterfinal: Vaishnavi bt Florentine Schoffski (Germany) 21-13, 21-5. Third round: Vaishnavi bt Leona Michalski (Germany, 12) 22-24, 21-19, 21-9. Second round: Vaishnavi bt Selina Giesler (Germany) 21-10, 21-8. First round: Vaishnavi bt Lotte Geerts (Belgium) 21-10, 21-10.