SPORT

It’s Sai vs. Arvind

Special Correspondent

PUNE: Guru Sai Dutt rallied to down J.B.S. Vidyadhar 18-21, 21-15, 21-19 in the men’s singles semifinal of the 29th Petroleum Sports Promotion Board inter-unit badminton tournament at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana on Saturday.

The crowd, engrossed in the contest, applauded both the Indian Oil Corporation shuttlers for their breathtaking play over three games. Arvind Bhat smashed through Thomas Kurien’s defence for a 21-19, 21-19 victory in the second semifinal.

Tired

Indian Oil Corporation’s Vidyadhar came into the semifinal high on confidence, but low on energy after sending out Anup Sridhar (Bharat Petroleum) earlier. The quarterfinal played in the morning extended to the decider, so playing another match stretching to three games in the evening affected Vidyadhar’s movements, further aggravated by a sprained ankle in the opening game.

Sai Dutt turned on the heat with leaping crosscourt smashes and drops.

After the rivals shared the opening games Sai Dutt clinched the match in the decider with a drop shot.

The women’s singles title will remain with IOC, after Trupti Murgunde and Gayatri Vartak expectedly moved into the final. The former won 21-16, 21-16 over Ruth Misha (ONGC).

Aparna Balan (IOC) retired hurt in the second semifinal due to a hand injury.

The results: Men’s singles (semifinals): Guru Sai Dutt (IOC) bt J.B.S. Vidyadhar (IOC) 18-21, 21-15, 21-19; Arvind Bhat (BPCL) bt Thomas Kurien (ONGC) 21-19, 21-19. Quarterfinals: Sai Dutt bt B.R. Kiran (MRPL) 21-4, 21-7; Vidyadhar bt Anup Sridhar (BPCL) 21-17, 16-21, 21-12; Thomas bt R.V. Deshmukh (HPCL) 21-8, 21-12; Arvind bt Ajay Jayaram (IOC) 12-21, 21-18, 21-16.

Women’s singles (semifinals): Trupti Murgunde (IOC) bt Ruth Misha (ONGC) 21-16, 21-16; Gayatri Vartak (IOC) bt Aparna Balan (IOC) 12-8 (retd.).

Veterans’ singles (semifinals): Milind Ghate (BPCL) bt Sanjay Kumar (ONGC) 21-4, 21-6; Pradeep Iyengar (BPCL) bt S.K. Patil (ONGC) 21-14, 21-16.



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