P Kashyap's hopes of winning his maiden senior National men's singles badminton title were dashed by Arvind Bhat, who clinched the crown for the second time after a straight-games victory in the final in Rohtak on Monday.
World No 25 Kashyap played his heart out but couldn't prevent Bhat, ranked 46th, from registering a 21-13, 21-17 victory after a 52-minute battle.
Bhat, who had won the title in 2009 after four final appearances, raised his game at crucial moments to not only clinch the title but also kick-start the new season on a positive note after a below par 2010.
On the final day of the 75th edition of the National championship,
unseeded Arundhati Pantwane's dream run also came to an end after losing to seventh seed Aditi Mutatkar in the women's final.
Mutatkar, who ranks 81st in the world, beat Arundhati 19-21, 23-21, 21-15 in another gruelling contest.
In the mixed doubles final, the second seeded pair of Pranav Chopra and Prajakta Sawant defeated top seeds Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan 18-21, 21-11, 21-13.
The men's doubles category saw defending champions Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas beat the third seed pair of Manu Attaree and Jishnu Sanyal 21-15, 21-9 to clinch the title for the seventh time in a row.
In another close encounter, the top seeded pair of Aparna Balan and Prajakta Sawant beat Prandnya Gadre and P Jyothsna 13-21, 21-19, 21-15 to clinch their maiden women's doubles crown.
In the men's singles, it turned out to be a heartbreak for Kashyap, who blew up a 5-0 lead in the first game and was left to do the catch up act by Bhat. The strapping Indian ace erased the five-point deficit and then caught up at 10-10 before galloping ahead.
The second game saw a fierce battle as Bhat and Kashyap fought tooth and nail and moved from 9-8 to 18-17 neck and neck, but it was the former who had the last laugh.
"I am very happy to win the title. I liked the way I played today. I had played Kashyap once before in 2010 Singapore but had lost the match. So it is nice to win against him here," Bhat told reporters after the match.
Kashyap had reached the semi-finals of the Singapore Super
Series, beating Bhat in straight-games in the quarter-finals last June.
Chief Minister of Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda was the chief guest at the closing ceremony of the tournament, which was also attended by national coach P Gopichand, the legendary Prakash Padukone and the Commonwealth Games gold medallist pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa, who were honoured with the Badminton Ratan award on the occasion.