Wildcards P. Kashyap and Ajay Jayaram overcame the challenge of brothers K. Srikanth and K. Nandagopal to set up a maiden title clash in the National badminton championship here on Tuesday.
Even as the men’s final ensured the crowing of a new champion, defending women’s champion P.V. Sindhu moved within a victory of retaining the title she won in Bangalore in January this year. She will face former champion Sayali Gokhale.
Kashyap, a losing finalist in the 2011 edition, proved too hot to handle for eighth-seeded Srikanth. The scoreline of 21-5, 21-8 was an apt reflection of the 25-minute domination of the favourite.
Jayaram needed just 40 minutes to dismiss Nandagopal, seeded six, in straight games for his most convincing victory of the week. Jayaram opened up a 13-5 lead in the opening game and 10-2 in the second to cruise to victory.
Sindhu bounced back after tamely surrendering the opening game to stop National Games champion Arundhati Pantawane 8-21, 21-18, 21-13 in 49 minutes. Playing with a knee brace on her right leg, Sindhu hardly stretched for the shuttle for the better part of the opening game. Sensing an opportunity, Arundhati stepped up the pace, broke away from 6-all and won 11 straight points.
In the second, Sindhu regained her touch, aided largely by Arundhati’s inability to keep the shuttle consistently on the back-court. A couple of points at the net raised Sindhu’s confidence and she raced away from 6-all to 12-6 and later 20-13. Arundhati saved five game points but could not prevent Sindhu from forcing the decider.
The final game was nicely balanced at 11-all before Sindhu turned the match on its head. She won 10 out of the next 12 points, cashing in on Arundhati’s inability to rally. The triumph helped Sindhu avenge her defeat at Rohtak in January 2011.
Sayali got the better of reigning National junior champion Tanvi Lad in 63 minutes. Sayali overcame a resurgent Tanvi 21-17, 9-21, 21-11, displaying far more consistency in the decider where she maintained a comfortable lead.
The results: Men: Semifinals: Ajay Jayaram (Pet) bt K. Nandagopal (AAI) 21-14, 21-15; P. Kashyap (Pet) bt K. Srikanth (AP) 21-5, 21-8.
Quarterfinals: Nandagopal bt Shreyansh Jaiswal (CG) 21-18, 21-9; Jayaram bt Abhimanyu Singh (MP) 18-21, 21-19, 21-6; Srikanth bt R.M.V. Guru Sai Dutt (Pet) 21-13, 21-19; Kashyap bt B. Sai Praneeth (Pet) 21-18, 21-19.
Women: Semifinals: P.V. Sindhu (Pet) bt Arundhati Pantawane (Pet) 8-21, 21-18, 21-13; Sayali Gokhale (AI) bt Tanvi Lad (AI) 21-17, 9-21, 21-11.
Quarterfinals: Arundhati bt Neha Pandit (AAI) 14-21, 21-16, 21-15; Sindhu bt Anita Ohlan (Rlys) 21-13, retd.; Tanvi bt Trupti Murgunde (Pet) 21-15, 21-16; Sayali bt P.C. Thulasi (Pet) 23-21, 21-19.
Men’s doubles: Semifinals: Akshay Dewalkar (AI) & Pranav Chopra (Pet) bt Alwin Francis (Ker) & V. Diju (Pet) 21-18, 21-15; Manu Attri & Sumeeth Reddy (AAI) bt Guru Prasad & Vineeth Manuel (Kar) 21-10, 21-12.
Women’s doubles: Semifinals: Aparna Balan (Pet) & Sikki Reddy (AAI) bt Prandya Gadre (AAI) & K. Maneesha (AP) 16-21, 21-19, 21-15; Varsha Belawadi & G.M. Nischitha (Kar) bt Sanyogita Ghorpade & Saili Rane (AI) 21-16, 15-21, 21-17.
Mixed doubles: Semifinals: Aparna Balan & Arun Vishnu (Pet) bt K. Maneesha (AP) & Pranav Chopra (Pet) 17-21, 21-12, 21-14; Ashwini Ponnappa & Tarun Kona (Pet) bt Prajakta Sawant (Pet) & Manu Attri (AAI) 21-19, 19-21, 21-15.
Keywords: National badminton championship