Guwahati Masters 2023: Unnati Hooda confident of good showing in tournament
Unnati hopes to get within touching distance of the top 50 spot with a strong showing at the Guwahati Masters Super 100 tournament, beginning with the qualifying rounds on Tuesday.
International badminton is returning to the Assamese capital after a gap of 17 years and rising badminton star Unnati Hooda, who has won all the BWF Super 100 tournaments held so far in India, hopes to break into the top 50 of the BWF World Rankings with a win in Guwahati.
Unnati had earlier set a modest target of breaking into the top 100 in the World Rankings by the end of this year. But the 16-year-old has already surpassed that target with back-to-back titles in the Abu Dhabi Masters and Chhattisgarh India International Challenge in Raipur and is hoping to get within touching distance of a spot in the top 50 with a strong showing at the Guwahati Masters Super 100 tournament, beginning with the qualifying rounds on Tuesday.
Currently ranked 79th in the world, Unnati will open her campaign against Stephanie Widjaja of Indonesia in the inaugural edition of the competition that has attracted some top international stars including Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen and Supanida Katethong among others.
“Our target this year was to only break into the top-100 world ranking. But I managed to finish second in the Infosys Open in Bengaluru and won titles in Abu Dhabi and Chattisgarh and I was able to achieve that goal quickly. I have prepared well for this tournament and I am hoping that a good run here will inch me closer to the top-50 mark,” said Unnati.
Unnati, who made a second-round exit in Lucknow last week at the Syed Modi India International, a Super 300 BWF World Tour event, is not disappointed. She plans to gain as much experience as possible by playing against top shuttlers.
The Haryana girl got one such great chance when she played against a player of the calibre of former world champion Nozomi Okuhara, the eventual champion of the women's singles title at Syed Modi India International.
Unnati aims for consistency in her play like these top stars.
“Some tournaments I play well but in some I don’t. I am continuing to find that balance between training and tournaments in consultation with my coaches to ensure that I become more consistent next year,” she added.
Meanwhile, this will be the second international tournament in Guwahati, which hosted the first India International Challenge back in 2007. The Super 100 event on the BWF Tour is one level above the Challenge event and will provide players like Unnati valuable ranking points if they rise through the levels of the game.