Below par Anand powers to title (pic)

Chetan Anand

Mumbai: A below par Chetan Anand proved too good for Anand Pawar as he clinched the men’s singles title at the Tata Open all-India ranking badminton tournament here Sunday. Chetan Anand

Weary and sluggish, Chetan was forced to dig deep into his vast experience to overcome local favourite Pawar 20-22, 21-12, 21-17 at the Cricket Club of India courts.

“I am not happy with the way I won. I couldn’t play my natural game, which is to attack. I had to change my style and play rallies,” world no.14 Chetan said after pocketing the winner’s cheque of Rs. 75, 000.

“Fitness played a role. Today (Sunday) I was a little slow. At the international level it’s not going to help me,” a candid Chetan said.

Chetan took an early 5-2 lead in the opening game but Pawar caught up and went 20-14 up. But the top seed won the next six points before the Mumbaikar pulled up his socks and closed out the game.

“Initially I was letting the shuttle go back and hitting it too hard. Then I realised the mistake and tried to rally,” Chetan explained.

But the end to the first game was a sign of things to come. Although Chetan made an error of judgement in clearing the shuttle, he had got a hang of his rival who had earlier admitted to an inability to close out matches against top players.

The second set was a breeze and although there were a few unforced errors in the third, Chetan was hardly tested by Pawar and closed out the match comfortably.

In the women’s draw, Sayali Gokhale reaffirmed her status as the national champion by annexing the singles title with a 21-19, 21-15 win over Neha Pandit.

Gokhale made a tentative start as she slipped to 8-11 before her coach called for a time out in the opening game. Upon resumption, the Pune native smoothly switched gears to win the next five points to go 13-11 up. From there on, the Spanish Open 2009 winner maintained the two-point advantage to pocket the game.

Pandit, who had beaten Gokhale in the semi-finals here last year, kept fighting her way back but could never really get on top of her opponent. Once she gained a 9-6 lead in the second game, Gokhale brought out her array of strokes to dominate the rallies and shut the door on Pandit.

“She (Pandit) was playing at a much faster pace in the beginning. I knew that I had to match her pace,” said Gokhale.

Results (finals)

Men’s singles: Chetan Anand bt Anand Pawar 20-22, 21-12, 21-17. Men’s doubles: Rupesh Kumar/Sanave Thomas bt Arun Vishnu/Tarun K 16-21, 21-14, 21-10. Women’s singles: Sayali Gokhale bt Neha Pandit 21-19, 21-15. Women’s doubles: Aparna Balan/Shruti Kurien bt Nitya Sosale/Pradnya Gadre 21-18, 21-11.

Mixed doubles: Arun Vishnu/Aparna Balan bt V. Diju/Ashwini Ponnappa 21-14, 14-21, 21-19.


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