Sourabh Verma defeats Lakshya Sen to claim third national title

Sourabh Verma, who had won the title in 2011 and 2017, showed great composure and tactical brilliance to outdo the 17-year-old Asian junior champion Lakshya Sen.

Sourabh Verma with his third Badminton Nationals title.   -  Special Arrangement

Sourabh Verma clinched his third Senior Badminton Nationals title, defeating young Lakshya Sen in straight games in the men's singles final in Guwahati on Sunday.

The 26-year-old, who had won the title in 2011 and 2017, showed great composure and tactical brilliance to outdo the 17-year-old Asian junior champion Lakshya 21-18 21-13 in a lop-sided contest.

The men’s singles final started on even keel as both the players looked to outdo each other. Lakshya’s precise smashes matched Sourabh’s drop shots as the duo split the initial 12 points. Lakshya showed great balance of defence and attack and moved into break with an 11-6 lead after unleashing a precise smash.

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After the break, Sourabh narrowed down the lead to 11-12 and then went to the lead at 16-15 when Lakshya smashed out. Sourabh slowly extended his lead and grabbed the game point when Lakshya misjudged the length and his weak return was punished. The youngster saved a couple of game points before sealing it by sending the shuttle at the back court.

Sourabh cruised to a 3-0 lead in the second game but unforced errors saw Lakhsya come back and draw level at 4-4. The former champion, however, managed to eke out a 11-7 lead at the break when Lakshya smashed out and at the nets.

The teenager couldn’t stop his errors from cropping in his game as Sourabh grabbed the match point at 20-11 with a body smash. Lakshya saved two match points before hitting the net and gifting the title to Sourabh.

It was their second meeting at the Senior Nationals final, following Sourabh’s triump over Lakshya (15 then) in February 2017.

Pranaav-Chirag win doubles crown

In men’s doubles, second seeded makeshift pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Chirag Shetty clinched the title after beating top seeds Arjun MR and Shlok Ramchandran 21-13 22-20 in 33 minutes.

Chirag and Pranaav came together after the former’s regular partner Satwik Rankireddy was sidelined ahead of the tournament due to an injury. Satwik and Chirag had finished runners-up at the last edition.

For Pranaav, it is his third national title, having won the men’s doubles crown along with Akshay Dewalkar in 2013 and 2015 and the mixed doubles title with Prajakta Sawant in 2010.