Sourabh Varma overcomes Prannoy to win Tata Open crown
Mumbai: Fourth seed Sourabh Varma overwhelmed third seed H S Prannoy in a one-sided final to clinch the men`s singles title in the USD 15,000 Tata Open India International Challenge badminton tournament here on Sunday.
Varma, who will be 21 on December 30, displayed superb anticipation and court coverage to dismantle his higher ranked rival`s game to come out a convincing winner with a 21-12 21-17 scoreline in his favour in a 30-minute match.
The title triumph also earned the MP-born shuttler, who is ranked 60 in the world and is now based and trains in P Gopichand`s academy in Hyderabad along with Prannoy, 4000 world ranking points and the winner`s purse Rs 67,500. Runner-up Prannoy, ranked 49 in the world, had to be satisfied with 3400 ranking points and a runner-up purse worth Rs 34,200.
The women`s singles title contest was clinched by top seed Febby Angguni who got the better of her Indonesian compatriot Ana Rovita in a long-drawn out final, which lasted 80 minutes, 20-22 21-14 21-19. Varma, who shocked top seeded defending champion RMV Gurusaidutt in the semi finals yesterday, was too good in retrieving the number of smashes his rival directed at his side and made far fewer errors than Prannoy.
Prannoy was too inconsistent in his play to threaten Varma who thus scored his second straight win at the international level in head to head clashes between the two shuttlers, the earlier one coming in the Bahrain Open.
Prannoy took a handy 11-8 lead in the opening game which he widened to 16-9 and 19-10. Prannoy took the next two points but a superb return of a smash by Varma gave him back the serve and he clinched the game when the former hit the `bird` wide of the sideline.
Varma took early control of the proceedings in the second game too to lead 9-4 and then 11-7. A smash winner by Prannoy gave him the next point but, as a consequence, he also sprained his neck and took a medical time out. Varma kept himself much ahead from then on barring a brief comeback by Prannoy from 18-13 to 18-16. Prannoy committed errors to hand his rival the upper hand again and the match was over when he hit his backhand wide.
"I have won a title after one year and it will give me a lot of confidence for the senior nationals (in New Delhi starting next week)," said Varma later. Varma, who was the national singles champion in 2011, said he changed his strategy today after playing aggressively against Guru yesterday in the semi final.
"I made a mistake of being too aggressive yesterday. Today, I wanted my chances. You can call it anticipation (against smashes) or defence," he said.
Varma said he expected his ranking to improve after the title triumph to above 50, but also recalled his career best ranking as 32.
"I was 32 before I slipped up. I don`t know exactly how much it will improve but I expect it to reach below 50," he said.
After shifting to Hyderabad four years ago his performance at the senior level has gone up considerably, Varma said. Varma also said he had been training specifically for this event and the nationals to follow.
"And next month there is the Syed Modi Memorial in Lucknow," he said.
The women`s final was a battle of attrition in contrast with both the Indonesian players looking worn-out midway through the contest. Ana saved two game points to win the opening game, then lost the second tamely to Febby. In the decider, Ana trailed 14-17, drew level and then led 18-17 before committing unforced errors to drop the game and the match.