Abhijit Naimpally could not utter a word even after wife, Trupti Murgunde, had wrapped up the second game and match against defending champ Sayali Gokhale to win her maiden Senior National title.
Naimpally’s reaction was an indication of how much the crown meant to Trupti, who has always been termed an underachiever despite being one of the best stroke players on the national circuit.
The 26-year-old had failed thrice, twice losing to nine-time champion Aparna Popat and once to Saina Nehwal, and with the juniors fast catching up, she knew this was her best chance.
The Indian Oil employee was slow at the start, but once she got the length of her cross-court tosses right, Sayali stood no chance. Trupti overcame a 7-4 deficit in the first game to win the summit clash 21-17, 21-7 in 36 minutes.
Chetan Anand added a fourth national crown with a 16-21, 21-19, 21-10 over Anup Sridhar.
This was Chetan’s third title in four years, with the world No. 16 missing the last year’s Nationals due to a leg injury.
The women’s doubles event had a new national champion after eight years with Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa defeating Shruti Kurien and Aparna Balan 21-15, 22-20.
The women’s final was expected to be a close affair since Sayali is known for her retrieving abilities and had beaten her more experienced opponent twice.
But on Sunday, Trupti was ready for the grind and it was Sayali who did the running around as the eventual champion controlled the match with her precise stroke-play.
The men’s singles final was a closer affair in the first two games, but once Chetan found his rhythm, Anup looked like running out of ideas.