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Saina, Sindhu have been fantastic: Gopichand

Posted on May 24 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, May 24 : Chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand praised the performances of Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa for their bronze medal performance in the Uber Cup being held at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here.

"Individually, Saina and Sindhu have been fantastic. Jwala and Ashwini, though they lost Friday's match but that doesn't take anything away from them. They have played very well. P.C. Thulasi also did well," Gopichand said here Saturday.

"Overall from a team perspective we need to understand that first timers coming in and playing crucial matches in a team event was going to be very tough. Having said that, we have worked hard and pulled out some fantastic results. Beating Thailand and Indonesia was phenomenal."

India topped Group Y after beating Canada, Hong Kong and Thailand, following it up with a quarter-final victory over badminton powerhouse Indonesia.

But the team could not repeat its performance in Friday's semi-final against Japan which India lost 2-3 despite taking a 2-0 lead.

The former All-England champion said that the match could have gone either way. But after Jwala and Ashwini lost the first doubles, it was difficult to win from there with the lack of depth in the team.

"It was a close tie. Saina started off fantastically and Sindhu fought like hell. It was good to see the spirit in her and we had our chances in the doubles when we were leading. There were fast exchanges. The match could have gone either way," said the Padma Bhushan awardee.

"But once we lost the doubles, we didn't have the depth in our team to pull it off. Thulasi beating Eriko Hirose was tough on paper. That's something which we knew and also the second doubles pair of Saina and Sindhu was not something we were really banking on."

India's best bet, Saina struck prime form after ages, also beating reigning World Champion Ratchanok Intanon in the tie against Thailand Tuesday.

Asked if she would be able to continue her form, Gopichand said: "This is sport and we cannot have things in black and white but the way she has performed here is very positive.

"She needs to keep doing the good work and I believe Saina definitely has 4-5 years in her kitty. If she does well, she is going to win. Having said that, with any sportsman if your focus goes down, your performance will come down."

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