Kashyap, Jwala-Ashwini in final; Sindhu, Gurusaidutt win bronze
Shuttlers Parupalli Kashyap and the pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa assured India's presence on the last day of the Commonwealth Games by reaching the finals, while P.V. Sindhu and R.M.V. Gurusaidutt had to be content with the bronze medals at the Emirates Arena here Saturday.
In the absence of top seeded compatriot Saina Nehwal, India's best bet for the gold, Sindhu suffered a disappointing straight games loss in the semi-final to Canadian fourth seed Michelle Li. But the 19-year-old re-composed herself later to triumph in the bronze medal playoff against Malaysia's Jing Yi Tee.
Fifth seed Tee gave the Indian a tough fight in the first game to earn two game points. However, the second seeded Indian saved both and took the game 23-21 in 20 minutes.
World No.11 Sindhu was far from her best in the first game but found some momentum in the second to seal it up 21-9 in only 12 minutes, earning India's first medal from the discipline at the 2014 Games.
Earlier, the World Championship bronze medallist lost the semi-final 20-22, 20-22 in 54 minutes. World No.19 Michelle had also beaten Sindhu in the mixed team quarter-final where India beat Canada 3-1.
Following Sindhu, men's singles fifth seed Gurusaidutt also won the bronze in a playoff by overcoming England's third seed Rajiv Ouseph in three tough games. Eventually, Gurusaidutt came out on top, winning 21-15, 14-21, 21-19 in just over an hour.
The diminutive Indian had earlier lost the semi-final 21-16, 19-21, 15-21 to Singapore's Derek Wong.
Meanwhile, men's singles second seed Kashyap earned a hard-fought three-game semi-final victory over Ouseph to succeed where he failed last time. The Hyderabadi had lost the semi-final four years ago at home and had to settle for the bronze.
After going down 18-21 in the first game, Kashyap came back strongly to win the next two 21-17, 21-18 in a marathon match which lasted an hour and 23 minutes. Both players showcased a great touch game but Kashyap's defensive abilities and court speed proved too much for the Englishman.
The former World No.6 made one too many unforced errors in the first game to give Ouseph the advantage. But he was much more circumspect in the second and made his English opponent cover a lot of ground, moving the shuttle around brilliantly.
In the third, Kashyap totally outclassed Ouseph and opened up a big lead. At 20-14, the Indian ace thought he had the match but much to his dismay, the umpire ruled in favour of the Englishman on a line call.
There were some nervy moments for Kashyap as Ouseph saved four match points but a stinging overhead smash sealed the Indian's berth in the final. Kashyap will take on Wong in the final Sunday.
Women's doubles defending champions Jwala and Ashwini will once again have a shot at the title they won in 2010 by defeating Malaysia's Loo Yin Lim and Lai Pei Jing in straight games. The Indian combine had a rather easy outing by taking the match 21-7, 21-12 in 27 minutes.
(Posted on 03-08-2014)
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