Pune: India’s Rahul Bharadwaj went down to top seed Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in the final of the India Junior International Grand Prix on Sunday. The junior world No 2 proved too strong for Bharadwaj, beating the 17-year-old Indian in straight games 21-16, 21-11 in a match that lasted just 33 minutes.

Bharadwaj, who had reached the final after coming through the qualifiers, looked drained out physically. He was playing his seventh match in four days and had come through two back-to-back three-game matches on Saturday in the quarterfinals and semifinals to reach the summit clash.

Vitidsarn, 16, had also played a three-game match against India’s Kartikey Gulshan Kumar in the semis but was a lot fresher than Bharadwaj. His attack and defence was top-notch on Sunday and he didn’t allow Bharadwaj to get even a sniff of an advantage. Bharadwaj was playing catch-up throughout and as the match progressed it was clear he was drained out even mentally.

“I thought I would play a lot better,” a visibly disappointed Bharadwaj told The Field after the match. “I know I have to improve on a lot of things. I played many close matches in this tournament but I feel I could have pushed a bit harder today.”

Bharadwaj’s travelling coach and former national champion Sayali Gokhale said that the Karnataka boy had played a good tournament overall but wasn’t prepared for the final. “I think he wasn’t ready for this match physically,” she said. “He was pretty drained out after coming from qualifying. He was probably not prepared for this final.”

Asked if it was also a mental block after spending nearly five hours on court in the last four days, Gokhale said, “Exactly, that’s where the preparation was less. He needs to understand the recovery part better. He just needs to work on his strength.”

Bharadwaj agreed that it’s his physical strength that he needs to work on. “If you see some of the other players they are very strong physically,” he said. “I also need to improve my body language. Game-wise improvement will happen naturally but I need to improve my strength.”

Asked what else he has learnt from this tournament, Bharadwaj said, “I have to prepare well for each and every match. There won’t be any easy matches.” Bharadwaj will next head to the junior world championships in Indonesia in October. “I would love to win, of course, but my main aim for the world championships is to give my 100%. I need to be better prepared.”