Sourabh claims third Senior National title

Surjit kumar Dhal, Guwahati, Feb 16: Sourabh Verma completed a hat-trick of titles at the Senior Badminton Nationals, claiming the men’s singles crown after defeating young Lakshya Sen in straight games, in the 83rd edition of the tournament here 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 Lakshya, an Asian junior champion, 21-18 21-13 in a lop-sided contest.

                 It was their second meeting in the senior national finals, following Sourabh’s triumph in February 2017.

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

                 The men’s singles final contest started on an even keel as both the players looked to outdo each other. Soon 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.

                 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 zoomed 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 as Sourabh jumped in joy.

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