A dazzling display by Rohan Gurbani powered Nagpur to a nail-biting 3-2 win over Pune in the final of the Yonex-Sunrise Maharashtra State Senior Inter-District Badminton Championship on Tuesday.
The three-day tournament was organized by the Maharashtra Badminton Association at the Dadoji Kondadev Stadium in Thane.
International shuttler Rohan Gurbani won his singles as well as his doubles matches to steer top seed Nagpur. They edged out a formidable Pune in the men’s team championship summit clash.
Former champions Pune got off to a bright start when Arya Bhivpathaki rallied to down Nagpur’s debutant Sankalp Gurala in the first singles.
Nineteen-year-old Rohan defeated Wasim Shaikh 22-20, 21-18 in half an hour to help Nagpur draw level against Pune. The former India sub-junior No. 1 came up with an excellent all-round game to quell the spirited challenge from Wasim Shaikh.
Rohan Gurbani and Akshan Shetty win crucial doubles
After a short break, Rohan Gurbani was back on the court to play the first men’s doubles. Pairing up with Akshan Shetty for the first time, he gelled well after the initial hiccups.
The new pair of Rohan and Akshan Shetty registered a thrilling come-from-behind win over Narendra Gogawale and Yash Shah of Pune. Rohan and Akshan bounced back in style after losing their first game to record a brilliant 14-21, 21-18, 21-18 win in 57 minutes. It was a crucial win for Nagpur as they took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five tie.
Pune restored their parity by winning the third singles to make it 2-2. Nagpur district men’s singles champion Nabeel Ahmed lost to Pune southpaw Rishabh Deshpande 11-21, 10-21 in 30 minutes.
All eyes were on the second men’s doubles after both Nagpur and Pune had won two matches each. Nagpur district team management decided to field a new combination of Ajinkya Patharkar and Sankalp Gurala in the all-important second doubles.
The brave decision by Nagpur district coach Kunal Dasarwar paid rich dividends. Ajinkya Patharkar-Sankalp Gurala edged out Arya Bhivpathaki and Rishabh Deshpande 12-21, 22-20, 21-14 in 43 minutes.
Both Ajinkya and Sankalp were playing for the first time in the Nagpur district squad. They reposed the faith shown in them with a splendid display under tremendous pressure.
Hosts Thane upset top seed Nagpur 2-1 in the women’s team championship final
Thane shocked top seed Nagpur with a 2-1 win to clinch the women’s team championship. Ritika Thaker’s close defeat in the first singles against Thane’s Mrunmayee Deshpande proved fatal for Nagpur.
Although Ritika Thaker and Simran Singhi, world No. 80 in the women’s doubles, beat Akshaya Warang and Sanyogita Ghorpade 21-13, 21-13, Nagpur could not retain their crown.
Thane’s teenager Arya Korgaonkar emerged as the star for the hosts. She prevailed over Nagpur district champion Nehal Gosavi 21-14, 22-24, 21-13 in the third and deciding encounter. Seventeen-year-old Nehal tried hard for over an hour but could not prevent an inspired Arya from clinching the deciding match.
Men's team championship
Nagpur beat Pune 3-2
Sankalp Gurala lost to Arya Bhivpathaki 22-20, 11-21, 4-21 (63 minutes)
Rohan Gurbani bt Wasim Shaikh 22-20, 21-18 (30 minutes)
Rohan Gurbani-Akshan Shetty bt Narendra Gogawale-Yash Shah 14-21, 21-18, 21-18 (57 minutes)
Nabeel Ahmed lost to Rishabh Deshpande 11-21, 10-21 (30 minutes)
Ajinkya Patharkar-Sankalp Gurala bt Arya Bhivpathaki-Rishabh Deshpande 12-21, 22-20, 21-14 (43 minutes).
Women's team championship
Thane beat Nagpur 2-1
Mrunmayee Deshpande bt Ritika Thaker 21-18, 21-19 (30 minutes)
Akshaya Warang-Sanyogita Ghorpade lost to Ritika Thaker-Simran Singhi 13-21, 13-21 (35 minutes)
Arya Korgaonkar bt Nehal Gosavi 21-14, 22-24, 21-13 (62 minutes).