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Thomas Kurien claims title

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, AUG. 3. Top seed Thomas Kurien quelled a spirited comeback from State champion K.A. Aneesh to win the title in the 20th TKV memorial all-Kerala ranking badminton tournament at the Indoor Recreation Centre here on Tuesday.

Earlier, Merrit George won the women's singles title with an easy 11-4, 11-5 win over Miral George.

Thomas Kurien won a pulsating contest which lasted more than an hour 15-5, 9-15, 15-11. The match between two Ernakulam based players started on a dull note with K.A. Aneesh appearing a shade slow to counter the attacking game of his rival. From 3-3 in the first set, Kurien cantered home to take the first set 15-5.

But the twist in the contest came midway through the second set when Aneesh changed his strategy to counter Thomas' power game. Keeping the shuttle more in play by retrieving everything from the backcourt, Aneesh denied some easy points and managed to frustrate his rival.

Thomas who played an error free game in the first set wilted under pressure and made uncharacteristic mistakes and looked venerable at net dribbles. Trailing 0-5 at the start of the second set, Aneesh clawed his way back to level the scores and from then on called the shots. Aneesh took the second set 15-9 to push the issue into the decider.

The short break seemed to have lifted the sprits of Thomas who found his touch to take an early 8-4 lead in the third set. But the change of ends saw Aneesh stage yet another comeback. Adopting the same tactics, Aneesh blunted Thomas's power game and managed to reduce the lead to 8-7. But Thomas quickly recovered from the slump in form and played a few breathtaking shots to wrest the advantage from his rival who ran out of steam in the end.— Our Sports Reporter

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