Defending singles champions B. Sai Praneeth and Ruthvika Shivani warmed up for their title defence by setting up Petroleum’s 3-0 triumph over Airport Authority of India in the mixed team event of the National badminton championship here on Wednesday.
The one-sided final, which threatened to finish at least an hour before the scheduled prize-distribution, witnessed a forced 40-minute break after Shivani’s victory gave Petroleum a 2-0 lead. Once the action resumed, Pranaav Chopra and K. Tarun needed only 24 minutes to complete the job.
Going by AAI’s gritty performance in the semifinals where it upstaged Telangana last evening, the final was expected to produce some close matches but that was not to be.
Nine consecutive points
Praneeth cruised past Praful Joshi by taking nine straight points in both games. In the opening game, Joshi fought well from 5-11 to make it 13-12. But an aggressive Praneeth did not give him another point in the remainder of the game.
In the second, too, Joshi battled from an early deficit to draw level at 10 and again at 11. Praneeth once again won the next nine points, allowed Joshi just one more point and closed the match in just 34 minutes.
Ruthvika was less ruthless against Rasika in a battle between two trainees of the Gopichand Academy. With Rasika lacking power in her strokes, Ruthvika finished off most of the points in a dominant manner.
In the first game, both girls battled to 12-all before Ruthvika pulled away for a three-point lead. Rasika, playing better than she did in the semifinals, could not loosen Ruthvika’s stranglehold and lost the game at 15.
The second game saw Ruthvika break away to a 15-9 lead and soon emerged triumphant in 31 minutes.
Chirag Shetty suffers back injury
The men’s doubles was also an anti-climax but for a different reason.
The back-injury suffered by Chirag Shetty, AAI’s star performer of the semifinals, restricted his movements and the Petroleum duo exploited it for a quick win.
The open events begin on Thursday, with the two singles resulting in draws of 128. In each of the three paired events, the draw will be of 64 players.
The results (Team championship) :
Final: Petroleum beat Airport Authority of India 3-0 (B. Sai Praneeth bt Pratul Joshi 21-13, 21-12; Ruthvika Shivani bt Rasika Raje 21-15,
21-12; Pranaav Chopra and K. Tarun bt M. R. Arjun and Chirag Shetty 21-17, 21-10).