Guwahati, Feb 16: Saina Nehwal won the women’s singles category of the 83rd national badminton championship by defeating PV Sindhu in straight games at the TRP Indoor stadium here on Saturday.
Sindhu had no answer to Saina’s powerful smashes as she went down 18-21, 15-21.
The men’s singles glory was cornered by Sourabh Verma who won his third nationals title with a 21-18, 21-13 triumph over Asian junior champion Lakshya Sen.
A cash reward of Rs 40 lakh was given to players. The singles winners were awarded Rs. 3.25 lakh and the runners-up Rs. 1.7 lakh. Each of the singles semi-finalists and the quarter-finalists received Rs. 62,500 and Rs. 27,500, respectively.
The showdown between Saina and Sindhu was a repeat of their enthralling final from the previous edition.
At the break of the first game, Saina had a slight 11-10 lead over Sindhu. But after the break, the 2012 Olympics bronze medallist extended it to 18-15. Sindhu then did a comeback and won two straight points to make it 17-18. But Saina showed a lot of variety to clinch the first game 21-18.
The second game also started in a similar fashion as Saina went into the break with an 11-9 lead. After the break, Saina extended it to 13-9 and went on to make the affair 21-15.
This was Saina’s fourth title after earlier triumphs in 2006, 2007 and 2017 while Sindhu left looking to add to her 2011 and 2013 titles.
In the men’s singles final, Sourabh Verma and Lakshya Sen met in a repeat of their 2017 final. Even though Sen stormed out of the blocks, it was the patient Sourabh who once again mastered the young Sen.
The 17-year-old Sen made a fabulous start as he broke away from a 6-6 tie to race ahead to 11-6. Verma tried to prolong the rallies after that and took four points on the trot. After Sen smashed his way up to 15-13, his barrage of unforced errors cost him the lead and Verma’s composure allowed him to go up to 18-16 and pocket the opening game.
Sen fought back to 4-4 from 0-3 down in the second game but once again could not do enough to dent Sourabh’s confidence. The latter banked on his precision and control to surge to 11-7 before finishing in 44 minutes.
Verma thus tasted success at the nationals for the third time following victories in 2011 and 2017. Sen had to remain content with a runner-up finish for the second time.
Meanwhile, second seeds Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Chirag Shetty won the men’s doubles title with a 21-13, 22-20 win over top seeds Shlok Ramachandran and M.R. Arjun.
Having lost in the men’s doubles final with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in the last edition, Chirag Shetty made up for it this time in partnership with Pranaav Jerry Chopra.
The trend continued in women’s doubles and mixed doubles too with the top seeds losing in those categories as well.
The mixed doubles duo of Manu Attri and K. Maneesha made an incredible comeback to beat Rohan Kapoor and Kuhoo Garg 18-21 21-17 21-16 in 57 minutes.
In women’s doubles, Shikha Gautam and K. Ashwini Bhat stunned Meghana Jakkampudi and S. Ram Poorvisha 21-16, 22-20.