Saurabh Verma and PC Thulasi clinched the mens and womens singles titles in contrasting fashion in the Rs five- lakh NSCI All India Major Ranking Badminton Tournament here on Wednesday.

Keralas Thulasi, who is a traine

e at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad, celebrated her 20th birthday with a convincing 21- 14, 21- 14 verdict over former national champion Sayali Gokhale in the womens final to take home the winners purse of Rs 28,000.

In contrast, MPs Verma, the top seed, had to wage a grim struggle to lord it over second seed B Sai Praneeth in a battle between two Petroleum shuttlers that lasted one hour. Verma received Rs 40,000. Verma, who shut out his younger brother Sameer in the semi- finals on Tuesday, saved a match point in the second game before carving out a come- from- behind 19- 21, 25- 23, 21- 11 victory over Praneeth who is also a trainee at the Gopichand Academy.

Verma was leading his PSPB teammate Praneeth 18- 13 when the latter staged a grand recovery and caught up his rival at 18 before clinching the opening game with a drop.

However, Verma stepped up the pace of the rallies in the second and once again led 19- 15 before allowing Praneeth to fight his way back.

Praneeth saved two game points before drawing level at 20 and then held a match point at 21- 20 when Verma fought back to draw level.

Verma then allowed his rival to save three more game points before finally clinching the game on extra points and make it 1- 1.

The extra effort told on Praneeths movement in the decider as he quickly fell behind 8- 11 at the cross- over.

‘I was hurt that I lost the opening game after leading 18- 13. In the next game also I was behind and saved a match point. I was able to keep the challenge alive and in the third game I tried hard from the beginning and never gave a chance to my opponent,’said Verma from Dhar, which is 60kms from Indore.

The results ( all finals): Mixed doubles: 3- Akshay Dewalkar- Pradnya Gadre ( AI) bt 1- Pranav Chopra- Prajakta Sawant 21- 17, 11- 21, 22- 20.

Womens singles: 3- PC Thulasi ( Ker) bt 4- Sayali Gokhale ( AI) 21- 14, 21- 14.

Mens singles: 1- Saurabh Verma ( PSPB) bt B Sai Praneeth ( PSPB) 19- 21, 25- 23, 21- 11.

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