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Gopi, Aparna champions

Lucknow: Former all-England champion Pullela Gopichand defeated national champion Chetan Anand to win the Syed Modi international badminton tournament on Monday.

Gopichand, who is still struggling to regain full fitness after a knee-injury a year ago, was given a run for his money by the national champion, but the experienced Hyderabadi prevailed 15-12, 12-15, 15-13.

In the women's section, top seed and national champion Aparna Popat won the crown for the seventh successive time thrashing second seed Malaysian Mew Choo Wong 11-3, 11-1.

The men's singles final was a battle of nerves as both players were not willing to give an inch to the opponent.

In the first game, Anand took a 4-0 lead against the 31-year-old, but Gopichand used all his experience to level the scores at 9-9 and then went on to pocket the game.

The winner looked like running away with the tie when he raced to a 11-7 lead in the second game, but Anand was not willing to give up as he came back strongly with some fine attacking play to force the match into a decider.

Gopichand then tightened his game and took an early lead in the decider.

Though, the national champion made his opponent work hard for every point, he could not reverse the trend, losing the match and crown.

In the men's doubles final, Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas clinched the title defeating Jaseel P. Ismail and V. Diju 15-12, 15-8.

The women's doubles crown went to Shruti Kurian and Jwala Gutta, who beat Wong and Anita Raj Kaur of Malaysia 15-5, 17-15.

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