None of the finals went the distance but there was no dearth of excitement as two new champions were crowned and two others regained the honour in the ATS National badminton championship.
A display of determination turned out to the theme of the day with an all-attacking K. Srikanth, ranked 37th in the world, coming up with a standout performance.
Earlier the duo of Pranav Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar besides the together-again pair of G. Jwala and Ashwini Ponnappa proving a point on the big stage by winning their grudge-matches.
Srikanth, winner of the Thailand Open Grand Prix title in June, enjoyed his biggest moment before the domestic audience by stopping second seed R.M. V.Gurusaidatt 21-13, 22-20 for the singles title worth Rs. 80,000.
In an action-filled final lasting 40 minutes, Srikanth’s superior speed made the difference. A compulsive attacker, Srikanth met the shuttle early and came up with a variety of strokes that Gurusaidatt was unable to deal with. Srikanth had meted out a similar treatment to top seed P. Kashyap on Sunday.
“Even when I faced a game-point in the second game, I attacked. That is what Guru couldn’t. That made the difference,” said Srikanth, who will turn 21 in February next.
Gurudsaidatt, who settled for Rs. 40,000, conceded that he could not match Srikanth’s pace on this day. “I was getting my rhythm towards the end of the second game but could not stop him (from winning).”
Second seed P.V. Sindhu easily regained the title she lost last October by overpowering fellow-18-year-old Rituparna Das 21-11, 21-17 in 30 minutes.
Overawed by occasion
The slow speed of the shuttle suited Rituparna, the reigning National junior champion, but she looked a bit overawed by the occasion. Sindhu broke away from 5-6 to win nine points on the trot to seize control.
In the second game, Rituparna led until 11-7 before Sindhu bounced back to claim five points. Though Rituparna did manage to make it 12-all but never again threatened Sindhu.
“We play everyday and it is good to see her doing so well to reach the final,” said a smiling Sindhu, giving all credit to Rituparna for her display. Sindhu received Rs. 80,000, twice of what Rituparna got for her maiden final-appearance.
After the mixed doubles final saw second seeds Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan retain the crown by beating top seeds K. Tarun and and Ashwini Ponnappa in 29 minutes, the two other doubles finals proved more exciting.
Chopra and Dewalkar avenged the defeat suffered in the last year’s men’s doubles final to Manu Attri and Sumeet Reddy. The 21-19, 21-17 victory in 39 minutes earned the winners their first National title.
Expectedly, there were plenty of cheers for Jwala and Ashwini as they upstaged top seeds Pradnya Gadre and Sikki Reddy to regain the title won in the 2009 edition.
Having lost to Pradnya and Sikki last Sunday in Mumbai, Jwala and Ashwini controlled the match and were never seriously challenged in the 34-minute match.
All doubles winners received Rs. 84,000 and the runners-up, Rs. 40,000.
The results (finals):
Men: 5-K. Srikanth (Pet) bt 2-R. M. V. Gurusaidatt (Pet) 21-13, 22-20.
Women: 2-P. V. Sindhu (Pet) bt 15-Rituparna Das (AP) 21-11, 21-17.
Men doubles: 1-Pranaav Chopra (Pet) and Akshay Dewalkar (AI) bt 2-Manu Attri (AAI) and Sumeeth Reddy (AP) 21-19, 21-17.
Women doubles: 2-G. Jwala and Ashwini Ponnappa (Pet) bt Pradnya Gadre and N. Sikki Reddy (AAI) 21-17, 21-16.
Mixed doubles: 2-Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan (Pet) bt 1-K. Tarun and Ashwini Ponnappa (Pet) 21-10, 21-17.