WTT Feeder Corpus Christi 2024: Sreeja Akula claims her first international title after defeating Lily Zhang of the USA

This will be a major boost as Akula will next head to the WTT Star Contender Goa back home.

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Payal Debnath
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WTT Feeder Corpus Christi 2024: Sreeja Akula claims her first international title after defeating Lily Zhang of the USA

Sreeja Akula clinches maiden international title with dominant final win. Image- Sportskeeda

In a triumphant start to the New Year, two-time National champion Sreeja Akula from Hyderabad secured her first international title by defeating world No. 46 Lily Zhang of the USA in a thrilling women's singles final at the WTT Feeder Corpus Christi 2024 on Thursday.

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Sreeja Akula clinches maiden international title with dominant final win. Image- Sportskeeda
Sreeja Akula clinches maiden international title with dominant final win. Image- Sportskeeda

The 25-year-old Indian, ranked 94th in the world, displayed exceptional skill and determination on her journey to the final. Sreeja Akula overcame challenges by defeating Stephanie Loeuillette 3-1 and causing a major upset by defeating top seed Amy Wang 3-2 (11-9, 9-11, 11-1, 6-11, 11-9) in a nail-biting quarterfinal.

In the highly anticipated final, Sreeja Akula took an early lead of 2-1 against Lily Zhang, but the world No. 37 fought back to level the score. However, Sreeja's strategic prowess shone in the decider as she secured the last few crucial points to claim victory with a final scoreline of 11-6, 18-16, 11-5.

The win not only marks a significant personal achievement for Sreeja Akula but also holds broader implications for the Indian Women's team's qualification for the Paris Olympics 2024 and it would also help her to qualify for the singles event. This will also be a major boost as she will next head to the WTT Star Contender Goa back home.

Reflecting on her achievement, Sreeja Akula expressed her joy, stating, "I am immensely pleased, and my efforts got me where I wanted to be. It's my maiden international title, and I have earned it after two close calls in the quarterfinals and semifinals of the tournament. Both (Amy and Lily) were higher-ranked players and played well against them,"

However, world No.102 Manav Thakkar lost to European champion Joao Monteiro in the men's singles semi-finals of the WTT Feeder Corpus Christi 2024. Despite an early-game advantage, Manav couldn't get past the Portuguese international, going down 11-8, 8-11, 11-13, 9-11. Even though he came close in the contest but finished as the second best.

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Meanwhile, reigning national champion Harmeet Desai bowed out in the quarterfinals following his 1-3 defeat to Kazakhstan's Kirill Gerassimenko. Other Indian star players are currently playing in the WTT Contender Doha 2024.

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