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Thursday, 2 February 2012

Sai Praneeth stops Anand Pawar

The Hindu P.V. Sindhu entered the women's final easily beating Aditi Mutatkar. Photo: K. Murali Kumar Petroleum Sports Promotion Board's B. Sai Praneeth, the second seed, ended Anand Pawar's giant killing strides with an impeccable display on the penultimate day of the IFCI 76th senior National Badminton championship.

At the K Raheja-KBA courts here on Tuesday, Sai Praneeth made light of Pawar's challenge to win 21-17, 21-15.

Anand Pawar looked a pale shadow of Monday's version of himself. His backhand flicks were either too long or landed in the net and his otherwise sharp smashes were returned with nonchalant ease by the steady Sai Praneeth.

Anand did enjoy the lead in the first game, at 4-0 and 11-9, but Sai Praneeth produced a string of winners with his half smashes and better net dribbles.

In the second, the PSPB shuttler led from the start to win rather comfortably, with Anand netting a backhand return on match-point.

Sai Praneeth plays his PSPB teammate and top seed Sourabh Varma, who quelled the challenge of fellow PSPB player H.S. Prannoy, the fourth seed.

Prannoy, despite playing with a strapped thigh, won the first game 23-21, and then held two match points at 20-18. But Sourabh, with a string of attacking points, punished Prannoy's slackness to win not only the game 22-20, but also the next 21-16, and the match.

The women's title clash will be between PSPB's ninth seed P.V. Sindhu and second seed Neha Pandit of Airports Authority of India.

Sindhu outplayed fourth seed Aditi Mutatkar, the defending champion, 21-10, 21-12 in just 27 minutes while Neha was equally ruthless on third seed Sayali Gokhale (Air India) winning 21-17, 21-13.

The tall Sindhu used her height to good advantage and often had the static and stiff Aditi stranded and wrong-footed.

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