Anup Sridhar, new kid on the block

Saji Chacko
Bangalore, September 19



The sparse crowd at the Indiranagar Club were witness to the birth of a new star. Anup Sridhar announced his arrival with a convincing 15-5, 15-13 win over Nikhil Kanetkar to enter the final of the Canara Bank-sponsored All-India senior ranking badminton championships here.

For Anup, the win meant much more than just statistics as it was the first time that he scalped top three players in the country en route to the final. In the other semi-final, Thomas Kurien stopped the fine run of Mangrish Palekar 15-10, 15-13.

Top seed Aparna Popat entered the finals with an 11-1, 13-10 win over Aditi Mutatkar and will play second seed Trupti Murgunde in the finals. Anup Sridhar who had upset second seed Utsav Mishra in the morning, kept his attacking game against Nikhil Kanetkar. The gangling Karnataka lad kept leaping high before smashing hard through his opponent's defences. Kanetkar was unable to counter Anup's blitzkerig. He went on to lose the game in 10 minutes, much to the delight of the home crowd.

After a brief pep talk from coach Gangula Prasad, Kanetkar changed his tactics opting for the low backhand serves and flat clears. For a brief period, he was able to slow down the pace and throw Anup off balance to take a 5-1 lead.

But Anup altered his game. He was content to play the rallies before waiting for the openings to smash. He caught up with Kanetkar at 8-all and was always ahead as he went on to pocket the game 15-13.

In the other semi-final, Thomas Kurien was too consistent for Mangrish Palekar. The Kerala came up with some scorching smashes.