Indian players dominated their home tournament with Frank Kleiber the only non-Indian player to win a title in Udaipur.
Kleiber won the Men’s B Singles title while the Seniors +40 title was secured by former +45 World Champion Ashutosh Pednekar. The four doubles titles were all won by Indian pairs, with Pednekar producing a perfect weekend by winning the Men’s B Doubles and Seniors +40 doubles alongside Ranjit Pande and Monesh Mashruwala.
Abhinava Kashyap Akshinthala also had a perfect weekend, winning the Men’s A Doubles alongside Sidharth Nandal as well as the Men’s A Singles title.
Men’s A Doubles: Akshinthala and Nandal See Off European Opposition
Abhinava Akshinthala and Sidharth Nandal teamed up to win the four-player box-league and take home the Men’s A Doubles title.
What is most impressive, is that the unranked duo did it while taking out established pairs Piers Boden/Duncan Stahl and Kevin Ho Ching Ng/Leigh Sands. Frank Kleiber paired up with Amarendu Srivastava to make up the final pair.
After Friday’s action, it became clear that the title would be either Akshinthala and Nandal or Ng and Sands. These were the only pairs not to lose, with Ng and Sands beating Boden and Stahl and Akshinthala and Nandal beating Kleiber and Srivastava.
On Saturday, and tied at two wins each, the pairs collided. After table tennis and badminton wins the Indian pair were in control but Ng and Sands battled back in squash. Needing 15 in tennis, the Indian pair cruised to victory, winning 15-7 to seal the title.
Boden and Stahl finished third after defeating Kleiber and Srivastava.
Mixed A Doubles: Panigrahi and Nandal Soar to Victory
The Women’s Singles may have been a tight affair but the Mixed Doubles was not. Sushmita Panigrahi, who narrowly missed out on the Singles title, soared to the Mixed Doubles title alongside Sidharth Nandal. The pair first beat Bhargavi Mitra and Prashant Sen by +33, before delivering the killer blow as they toppled Pooja Shah and Aditya Parikh +34.
This was revenge for Panigrahi who lost out to Shah in the Women’s Singles. Shah and Parikh finished second after beating Mitra and Sen.
Men’s B Singles: Frank Kleiber Flies the Flag for Europe
It was a rare sight to not see an Indian player dominating in Udaipur. However, the Men’s B Singles was the most diverse semi-final line-up, with one German, one Indian, and two players from Hong Kong.
Frank Kleiber took on Gourav Rakshit in the first semi-final and dominated from the outset. The German star led by 27 after badminton, a scoreline that proved too much for Rakshit, despite winning the squash.
The other finalist had an enormous battle to get there. Yin Kiu Kevin Leung’s tough tournament began in the opening round, against No.2 seed Prashant Sen. The Hong Kong player was trailing by 18 points heading into tennis, but remarkably won 21-3 and then won the gumi-arm to reach the quarter-finals. In the quarters he once again trailed heading into tennis, winning 21-4 to win by 10 points.
In the semi-finals? Yes, you guessed it, he trailed heavily going into tennis. Hei Nam Lee, his opponent, needed 9 points for victory in the tennis. Leung refused to go down though, winning 21-5 to move into the final with a three-point victory.
In the final though, Kleiber was simply too good. 21-4 and 21-5 table tennis and squash wins proved the catalyst for his success. Leung did try to battle back in the tennis, but Kleiber reached the four points he needed with the score at 4-9 in the tennis.
Gourav Rakshit finished third after defeating Hei Nam Lee.
Men’s B Doubles: Familiar Face Takes Gold
There was a familiar face on the podium in the Men’s B Doubles. Ashutosh Avinash Pednekar, the first Indian to become World Champion, won the title alongside Ranjit Pande.
The pair were never in danger, winning their quarter-final and semi-final before tennis without dropping a set. In the final, they took on another Indian pair, Biswajit Panigrahi and Gourav Rakshit. Pande and Pednekar did drop a set in the final. After winning the first two sets 21-12 and 21-2, Pande and Pednekar lost the squash 21-10.
That was the only loss of the weekend for the pair though. Pande and Pednekar won the tennis 5-1 to seal the title and continue Pednekar’s perfect weekend.
Men’s +40 Singles: Pednekar’s Perfect Weekend
Speaking of Ashutosh Pednekar’s perfect weekend, that continued in the Seniors categories. After a bye in the first round, the No.2 seed defeating Akberali Sadriwala and Mahesh Chhabria in the quarter-finals and semi-finals to reach the final without dropping a set.
In the final, Pednekar took on fellow Indian player Sanjeev Kumar. Kumar had shocked German top seed Frank Kleiber in the semi-finals, courtesy of a dramatic gumi-arm. Kumar won the tennis 23-21 to force the gumi-arm, before taking the victory on his racketlon debut.
As with the rest of the tournament though, Pednekar ran through the final. The former World Champion won 21-14, 21-9, 21-9 to take the title. A flawless campaign for Pednekar who won the title without losing a set.
Frank Kleiber came third after edging out Chhabria in the bronze medal match.
Men’s +40 Doubles: Pednekar’s Perfect Weekend Continued
Remember how just two paragraphs ago we mentioned how Pednekar won the title without losing a set? Well, he did it again in the +40 Doubles alongside Monesh Mashruwala. The Indian duo won all of their matches by over 30 points and before tennis. Pure domination from the pair to cap off Pednekar’s perfect weekend.
Siddharth Nivsarkar and Ranjit Pande came second thanks to a slender five-point win over Mahesh Chhabria and Kumar. The latter finished third with Peter Savige and Bob Tink in fourth.
The Elite Singles report from the CHA Indian Open can be read here.
The full results from the CHA Indian Open are available to read here.
The full 2020 FIR World Tour and Challengers are available here, with every tournament open to all players from around the world.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Frank Kleiber