Midway through the second game, Sayali Gokhale stood at the net waiting to tap a cross-court drop from Trupti Murgunde. The point was a clear indication that the Air India shuttler was beginning to blunt her opponent’s most potent weapon - deception.
Having got the measure of the number two seed, Sayali needed to keep her composure in the decider and the 22-year-old did just that to upset her fellow Prakash Padukone Academy trainee 15-21, 21-18, 21-16 in one hour and 10 minutes to enter her maiden Senior National final here on Tuesday.
Trupti’s defeat also meant that PSPB would have no representation in the women’s singles final since 1999, when they first entered the badminton circuit.
In the first semifinal, unseeded PC Thulasi of Kerala continued her march with a clinical 21-11, 21-14 demolition of Mudra Dahinje of Air India in just 25 minutes. The 18-year-old outplayed the Pune girl, using flick tosses from the net and pushing her opponent to the backcourt.
While the women’s singles would have no PSPB player, the men’s singles final would once again be an all-PSPB affair with top seed Aravind Bhat taking on third seed P. Kashyap.
Bhat reached his fifth final at the nationals with a 21-5, 21-18 win over fourth seed Anand Pawar of Air India while Kashyap got the better of an off colour Anup Sridhar 21-16, 21-17 in the other semifinal.
Kashyap looked in control throughout the 40-minute encounter and except for a brief period when Anup led in the second game, he was never put to test.