National badminton: Sameer, Thulasi win titles

While Sameer expectedly beat his elder brother Sourabh in the men's final; Thulasi outplayed top seed Tanvi Lad 21-9 21-13.

Second seed P. C. Thulasi (in picture) won an error-prone final against top seed Tanvi Lad.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Sameer Verma (in picture) beat his elder brother Sourabh in 25 minutes to win the title.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

With Sourabh Verma standing across the net, the much anticipated coronation of younger brother Sameer as the new National badminton champion was never in doubt.

In keeping with the prediction of a vast majority of players and officials, the men’s singles final proved farcical as Sourabh surrendered in just 25 minutes and let his kid brother take the honours.

To the credit of the brothers, there was no play-acting or fake display of emotions during Sameer’s 21-16, 21-16 victory. For the record, Sourabh, winner in 2012, and Sameer are now the only brothers to win the titles in 80 editions of the championship.

The ladies final, between Thulasi and Tanvi Lad – the country’s best after Saina Nehwal and P. V. Sindhu – saw the former outplay the latter 21-9 21-13.

Tanvi and Thulasi, ranked 92nd and 101st in the world, produced 40 minutes of error-prone badminton. The after-effects of the Saturday’s tough semifinal showed on both players but Thulasi looked in control. She blitzed the opening game and bounced back from 5-9 in the second to win 16 of the next 20 points.

ARUN VISHNU AND APARNA BALAN WIN MIXED DOUBLES

Favourites Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan won the mixed doubles title for the fifth year in a row. For Aparna, it was her sixth title in the event, having won with V. Diju in January 2007.

Third seed Pranav Chopra and Sikki Reddy rallied in the two games but could not prevent Arun and Aparna from winning 22-20, 22-20 in 54 minutes.

Later, Sikki managed to push Aparna on the losing side in the women’s doubles final. Sikki and Pradnya Gadre retained the title by beating second seeds Aparna and Prajakta Sawant 22-20 21-18 in 44 minutes.

Interestingly for Pradnya and Sikki, the first of their three National titles came in 2012 with different partners. That year, Pradnya and Prajakta won in January and were dethroned by Sikki and Aparna in October.

The men’s doubles final saw favourite Pranav Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar come out stronger against second seeds Alwin Francis and K. Tarun. The match ended abruptly after the first game following a knee-injury to Alwin.