Hot favourite Ayaz Shaikh of Army Yachting Node will clash with Atool Sinha of INWTC in the final of the match racing competition of the Monsoon Regatta sailing championship at the Hussainsagar Lake here on Friday.

Keen contests were witnessed in the semifinals on Thursday among Shaikh, Sinha, Trunal Helegaonkar of Mumbai and Manoj Kumar of CESC.

Shaikh with nine points was top seed in the semifinals followed by Atool Sinha, Trunal Helegaonkar and Manoj Kumar in that order.

Shaikh who, as the top seed, got the right to choose his opponent for the semifinal, predictably chose Manoj Kumar and it was left to Atool Sinha and Trunal Helegaonkar to fight it out for a spot in the final.

The first match between Shaikh and Manoj saw the former (an experienced Asia No. 1) keep the latter well at bay.

However, at one stage, Manoj, determined to stage an upset, worked with the shifting breeze and shot past Shaikh halfway to the windward mark. But later made a blunder which gave Shaikh the chance he needed to overtake Manoj and win.

In the next contest between the two, Shaikh took no chances and kept Manoj behind from start to finish for a 2-0 win.

Atool in great form

In the other semifinal, Atool Sinha was in great form and kept Helegaonkar behind in both races. The latter did come up with a few challenges but it was not enough to prevent Atool from registering a 2-0 win.

In the finals on Friday, the top seeds Ayaz Shaikh and Atool Sinha will be clashing once again after the recently concluded Nationals at Mumbai.

In earlier competitions, Shaikh had beaten Sinha at the Mumbai nationals, but subsequently in the INTWC match racing championship, Sinha got his revenge so the head-to-head record stands at one all.

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