Olympian Aparna Popat created history at the Karnataka Badminton Association Courts in Bangalore, winning a record ninth national title after decimating up-and-coming youngster Saina Nehwal in straight games in the women's final of the Canara Bank 70th National Badminton Championships on Wednesday.
Aparna, who thus avenged two defeats at the hands of Saina this season, won 13-11, 11-3. In winning her ninth straight national crown, she equalled Indian badminton wizard Prakash Padukone's record.
Anup Sridhar beat Arvind Bhat 15-12, 15-4 to take the honours in the men's singles.
It was a disappointment yet again for Bhat as this is the third time he lost in the national singles final.
All the four singles finalists represented Petroleum Sports Promotion Board.
After a close first game, Sridhar raised his game several notches to gain a big lead early on. Bhat tried hard to get back into the match but things did not work his way today.
The men's doubles title was bagged by the duo of Sanave Thomas (Kerala)/Rupesh Kumar (PSPB), who defeated Jaseel P Ismail/Diju V (both PSPB) 15-10, 15-12.
Aparna had a tough time against the youngster who had last defeated her at the Asian Satellite Circuit at New Delhi. Though she began well and raced to a 6-2 lead, Saina caught up and levelled the score 6-6 and went on to take a marginal lead at 8-10. However, with some deft placements, coupled with poor smashing by Saina, Aparna not only made good the deficit but also went on to take the first game 13-11.
Ranked 35th in the world, Aparna then had the going smooth in the second as Saina caved in, unable to match her experienced opponent.
Saina could just claim three points before Aparna, with some brilliant finishing, took the game and the match away.