Bhat finally breaks the jinx

Kashyap loses his cool,and the match,as top seed wins first national title in seven attempts

Written by Aabha Rathee | Indore | Published: February 19, 2009 12:04 am

The last thing you would want to do in a big final is lose your cool. P Kashyap did it twice on Wednesday,and despite flying starts in both games against Aravind Bhat,the Hyderabad player more or less disintegrated to a 21-19 21-14 loss. Bhat,the top seed,one for whom this tournament meant the chance to break a seven-year jinx,finally won his first senior badminton nationals title in Indore on Wednesday.

“I feel very relieved to have finally got a nationals title,” Bhat said. “I kept at my game because I knew he would make mistakes under pressure.”

Kashyap had started sharp,taking a 5-0 lead before three errors on the smash first got Bhat on the board and then to 3-6. It was clear the senior player had warmed up to the task when a scream ran out from him after Kashyap’s attempted drop was left wrapped in the net. Then at 10-9 down,Kashyap argued a call,showing that the pressure might have been a bit too much to handle.

Showing quick reflexes in getting up after a fall,and quicker hands,he took it to 19-19,but the end was fast and almost unfortunate. He first sent a smash just wide to give Bhat game point,and then his attempt at a drop caught the net.

The third seeded Kashyap took an early lead in the second game as well,brining out the same touch drops and tosses that had caught Anup Sridhar in a tangle in Tuesday’s semi-final. But then,already pegged back and feeling the heat,it all fell apart for the first-time finalist. Bhat’s shot at the baseline was called in by the line judge,and Kashyap utterly refused to agree to the decision,arguing passionately with the umpire and reacting to the crowd’s hoots before the line judge agreed he wasn’t sure,and the point was replayed. It was clear Kashyap was completely out of sorts by then,though,and Bhat,despite not having come out with his best game,wrapped it up 21-14.

“That call really upset me,” Kashyap said. “But I think it was just Aravind’s experience that made the difference today. I started out fast and then messed up,and the next time in a situation like this,I’ll know better what needs to be done.”

In a women’s final with two players at this big stage for the first time,the more senior of the two prevailed. PC Thulasi and Sayali Gokhale played out an entertaining match with long rallies and much scrambling about from both. Gokhale was the one posing for the cameras at the end,winning 21-17 16-21 21-13.

Thulasi did much of the work at first,finding winners,though also making mistakes. Gokhale tried aggression and it was 16-16 before she took command and sealed it 21-17. In the second game,there was again nothing to choose between the two before Thulasi began dominating for a phase with her space-creating trickery and won 21-16 to even it out. The Kerala player was quickly into a shell in the third though,and Gokhale kept attacking and took it 21-13.

Results (finals)

Men’s singles: Aravind Bhat (1) bt P Kashyap (3) 21-19 21-14; Women’s singles: Sayali Gokhale (4) bt PC Thulasi 21-17 16-21 21-13; Men’s doubles: Sanave Thomas/ Rupesh Kumar (1) bt Tarun K/Arun Vishnu (4) 21-15 21-16; Women’s doubles: Jwala Gutta/Shruti Kurien (1) bt Dhanya Nair/Anita Ohlan (4) 21-12 21-13; Mixed doubles: Jwala Gutta/ V Diju (1) bt Aparna Balan/Arun Vishnu (2) 16-21 21-19 21-12

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