Sports Reporter :
THIRD seed Malvika Bansod will take on local girl Vilte Paulauskaite in first round of the RSL Lithuanian International Badminton tournament on Friday. The four-day Future Series tournament, organised by the Lithuanian Badminton Federation will be held in Kaunas, Lithuania. Malvika is in the bottom half of the draw. If she beats Vilte, Malvika will lock horns with winner of the match between Heli Neiman of Israel and Finland’s Hanna Karkaus in the second round. Only two Indians — one each in men’s singles and women’s singles — are competing in the tournament. In the draw of 32, Malvika will be playing in bottom half of the draw. City’s talented shuttler impressed with her show in Austria by reaching the quarter-finals.
The world No 128 missed the semi-final last fortnight after going down to top seed and eventual champion Clara Azurmendi of Spain. Malvika, who had a session with the only other Indian in the fray Aman Farogh of Thane Academy on Thursday, is expected to cruise through to the quarters where she is likely to meet sixth seed Helin Pajuste of Estonia. Ksenia Polikarpova of Israel is the top seed. The 31-year-old is ranked 57 in the world. Sanjay Mishra, Malvika’s coach was expecting good show from her. “After doing well in Austria late last month, she is looking confident on the court. We had some wonderful training sessions at Raipur last week and she is playing brilliantly. Looking at the field in Lithuania, she should do well,” Mishra told a website.