- Nehwal was trailing 5-7 in the first game, and Malvika was in no mood to let this advantage slip
- Malvika ended up winning the first game 21-17
- She then did not look back, and she continued with her momentum
Unheralded Malvika Bansod lived her dream life when the 20-year-old shuttler defeated her childhood idol Saina Nehwal in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals of the ongoing India Open 2022.
The victory was further special for Malvika as she defeated as the 2012 Olympics bronze medallist in straight games 21-17, 21-9 in a match that lasted mere 35 minutes.
"It was a great match against Saina Nehwal. It was my first meeting with her, it was a great experience. She has always been my idol since I was a kid so it was a dream come true to play against her in such a big event in Delhi and this win has given me confidence for the next round," said Bansod in a video posted on Twitter account of Badminton Association of India (BAI).
Many times, Nehwal was slow to react to Bansod’s flat tosses and was never in the fight in the second game.
“I was playing her for the first time and was not thinking of winning or losing. My game plan was to just keep the shuttle in play and keep moving her,” said Bansod after the match.
The 20-year-old shuttler, who had been following Nehwal’s career since she first saw her posters during a state-level tournament nine years ago, said she made it a point to not see her senior compatriot’s face during the entire match as she was afraid of losing focus.
Bansod, playing in her first Yonex-Sunrise India Open, will now face Kashyap in what will be a repeat of last month’s All India senior ranking tournament final in Hyderabad.