Saurav Ghosal defended his eighth National title — last seven in-a-row — with a hard-fought but straight-game victory over second seed Harinder Pal Sandhu in Kolkata on Sunday.

In winning her 11th crown, Joshna Chinappa stood head and shoulders above all her competitors, including second seed and Statemate Anaka Alankamony. She too won in straight games.

It took a little over 20 minutes for the top seed Ghosal to tame a fighting Sandhu. The scoreline of 11-5, 11-4, 11-3 not only misled the intensity of the contest but also the spirit the two ‘best friends’ displayed on the court. Ghosal’s superior stamina, court-craft, power and deft touch made all the difference.

Sandhu’s five-game victory in the semifinals seemed to have a taken a heavy toll on him as he got tired as the game wore on.

The first game saw the best rallies mostly won by Ghosal. He pulled away to 8-2 lead and won it at 11-5 in 15 minutes. Ghosal ran away to a 5-1 lead in the second before Sandhu got his second point on his rival’s mistake. Again Ghosal pulled away to 9-2 and to win the game at 11-4 in 10 minutes.

One-sided contest

The third set was one-sided with the defending champion winning it at 11-3 in five minutes.

Ghosal praised Sandhu for putting up such a contest. “This is my eighth title and the best one I have played,” he said later.

For Joshna, it was a walk in the park against Anaka.

The 18-year-old second seed tried hard to match a faster and superior opponent only to find the victory eluding her in her third final of her career. Joshna regained the title after one year.

The results (finals): Men: Saurav Ghosal (TN) bt Harinder Pal Sandhu (TN) 11-5, 11-4, 11-3.

Women: Joshna Chinappa (TN) bt Anaka Alankamony (TN) 11-7, 11-4, 11-8.

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