B D Narayankar
PUNE: The music of celebration rose above the din as top seed Sudhanshu Medsikar defeated Amey Tilloo 21-19, 21-10 in finals of U-13 PDMBA championship on a glorious Thursday evening. As soon as he defeated his rival, Sudhanshu jumped in delight, ran towards his father and melted into his embrace, cherishing every bit of the treasured moment. This was his second title in two years. Just last year, he had carried home the Mahila Mandal District Badminton Championship Cup.It wasn’t all that easy for Sudhanshu, though. He came out of the fire unscathed and fought the battle till the end. First game was a neck-and-neck affair. Sudhanshu took a two-points lead over Amey, for the first time, when the score was 15-13 in his favour.He, however, could not hold on to the lead. Sudhanshu committed errors, giving Amey opportunities to smash across the court. Soon he was trailing 15-18. He ultimately won the first game winning three points by locking Amey with his flurry of chest serves and cross-court smash.Sudhanshu tore apart Amey in the second game, completely dictating play with his intelligent slice drops and smash. The top seed served efficiently, ate up Amey’s attacking serves and won the match when he blitzed a smash across the court. Sudhanshu was ecstatic about his second title win. “Winning finals is always good, especially beating someone you have played before,” he told Herald after the match. “It is definitely one of my top wins. Though Amey is an unseeded player, he is a wonderful player,” he added with a laugh.“I wanted to dictate as I have had trouble with him in today’s first game because he retrieves so well. But, I made sure I was both aggressive and defensive when I got on court,” Sudhanshu said.In U-19 boys’ final, top seed Nihar Tilekar pulled off an impressive win 21-14, 21-16 win over third seed Kunal Bhide in a pulsating encounter. Tilekar came into the finals on the back of successful outings in earlier stages of the tournament.In an hour’s contest where momentum kept swinging back and forth in the first half of the point’s table, both Nihar and Kunal pounded heavy shots from the baseline to make it an exciting match for the sizeable crowd at the WIE Sports Complex.Nihar used his strong tosses to set up winning points and kept Kunal under pressure with his smash.After taking the first game 21-14, Nihar opened the final game by holding serves to take 11-6 lead. Later leading 18-16, after conceding huge points, Nihar got to match point when he slammed a attacking shot for a winner.After the win, Nihar said it was the toughest first-game match that he could get as he had to play against a good player like Kunal. “It’s hard to play the finals. I, however, played well under the circumstances,” Nihar said. “I had wanted to spend the least amount of time possible on the court. But I won the match in the end, and that's the most important thing,” he added.