The two highest ranked Indians on the international circuit will play today for the national champion’s crown. Ajay Jayaram and Parupalli Kashyap, who have been neck-and-neck in the international rankings, will meet in the final of the National Championships; the winner will thus be the undisputed Indian No.1. The match will be a replay of the 2005 National Junior Championships that Kashyap won. The Hyderabadi (No.20) is ahead of Jayaram (No.25) in the world rankings.
On Tuesday, Kashyap was impressive in a straight-games win over fellow-AP player K Srikanth, 21-5 21-8. Srikanth was expected to trouble Kashyap, as he had upset another title favourite, Guru Sai Dutt, in the quarterfinals in straight games. However, Kashyap gave him no inch and decimated him in quick time. Jayaram was equally convincing in a 21-14 21-15 win over K Nandagopal, Srikanth’s elder brother.
In the women’s singles, defending champion PV Sindhu was surprisingly stretched to three games by Maharashtra’s Arundhati Pantwane 8-21 21-18 21-13, and will meet former national champion Sayali Gokhale, who prevailed over Tanvi Lad 21-17 9-21 21-11.
“I had too many negative thoughts initially and was frustrated at myself for not executing my strokes but then I started to find my rhythm. I had some pain in my knee, nothing major, but I wanted to be safe so I didnt want to exert too much,” said Sindhu.
Tuesday saw both the quarterfinals and semifinals being played. There were some surprises in the morning session, as Srikanth shocked Indian international Guru Sai Dutt 21-13 21-19; the men’s doubles top seeds and defending champions Arun Vishnu and Tarun Kona were surprised by Alwin Francis/ V Diju 17-21 21-11 21-10, and top WS seed Neha Pandit was upset by Arudhati Pantwane. Surprisingly, veterans Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas, gave a walkover to Manu Attri/ Sumeeth Reddy in the quarters. If Rupesh had gone on to win the final, it would’ve been his tenth national championship in eleven years.
MS: Ajay Jayaram vs P Kashyap
WS: PV Sindhu vs Sayali Gokhale
MD: 3-Akshay Dewalkar/ Pranaav Chopra vs Manu Attri/ Sumeeth Reddy
WD: 1-Aparna Balan/ Sikki Reddy vs 2-Varsha Belawadi/ GM Nischitha
XD: 1-Aparna Balan/ Arun Vishnu vs Ashwini Ponnappa/ Tarun Kona