India's veteran Sharath Kamal surpassed Kamlesh Mehta’s longwithstanding record of most national titles by claiming his ninth crown following a gruelling final against India teammate G Sathiyan. It was an exciting battle between Sharath and his compatriot before it went in the former's favour (4-3).
Sathiyan, the world number 31, was by no means a pushover and gave a good account of his skills and form. Thus, he matched Sharath stroke to stroke, yet failed to win the elusive maiden trophy despite reaching the final on three occasions. For Sharath, he should have prevailed on top much earlier. He, however, could not hold his nerves despite leading 10-8 in the fifth game and Sathiyan pulled it off nicely at 12-10 to go 3-2 up. Sharath felt the pressure but didn't succumb. He had to win the next to stay alive in the contest and managed to do so convincingly. The decider lived upto its term wherein both players gave their all. The extended game was won on the third match-point by Sharath while Sathiyan just missed one.
Sharath said after the match, “The pressure was on both of us. But whatever I did to take the ninth title off my mind, it was coming back again and again with everyone remembering me. Similarly, Sathiyan was going for his first title and he was equally pressured." Giving full credit to Sathiyan, Sharath added, “This final was by far the best in terms of quality. That explains the ferocity and seriousness with which Sathiyan attacked from both flanks and kept me engaged.”
On the other hand, youngster Archana Kamath lifted the women’s trophy for the first time. Her confidence had sky high after beating CWG gold medallist Manika Batra in the semifinals. “I think the title has come at the right time. I always wanted to win the crown. I know even my opponent (Krittiwika) would have liked to do that. I am happy I could do accomplish it,” concluded an emotional Archana.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega