Kashyap strikes gold, Jwala-Ashwini lose it
Rewriting Commonwealth Games' badminton history, Parupalli Kashyap won India's third men's singles gold here Sunday but Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa failed to defend their women's doubles title they won four years ago at home.
Second seed Kashyap emulated former champions Prakash Padukone (1978) and Syed Modi (1982) to clinch his first major championship by defeating Singaporean sixth seed Zi Liang Derek Wong to turn the bronze he won four years ago in New Delhi into a gold. The 27-year-old won 21-14, 11-21, 21-19 in just over an hour at the Emirates Arena.
Much was expected from Jwala and Ashwini but they could not replicate their gold medal-winning performance of 2010 and had to settle for the silver, losing the final 17-21, 21-23 in 41 minutes to Malaysian second seeds Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Khe Wei Woon.
Earlier, World No.22 Kashyap took off well with a 5-2 lead which he comfortably extended to 11-7 at the first-game break. Wong was no match for Kashyap whose speed and agility was too hot to handle as he raced away to seal the game in just 15 minutes.
However, the World No.40 upped the ante in the second game and immediately took a 6-2 lead which he extended to 11-6 by the mid-game break. Wong was so dominant in the second game that he won 10 of the next 15 points to level the match.
It was neck-and-neck in the decider but that did not stop both shuttlers from playing aggressively. It remained extremely close until Kashyap took the lead for the first time in the game (15-14) since leading 4-3 at the start.
Buoyed by a large Indian support base who were cheering for Kashyap with shouts of "India jeetega", the former World No.6 gained momentum and extended the lead to 19-16.
The Hyderabadi displayed some nervy moments when he lost three consecutive points to make it 19-all but he stuck it out to win the next two points and clinch the gold.
Earlier, Indian fifth seed R.M.V. Gurusaidutt had claimed the bronze Saturday in a playoff by overcoming England's third seed Rajiv Ouseph. Hyderabadi P.V. Sindhu had also won the women's singles bronze after winning her playoff Saturday.
Next up, it was a close contest between the Indian third seeds and Malaysian seconds seeds in the doubles final. The pairs exchanged serves almost on every point but at 17-all, World No.18 Vivian and Khe showed nerves of steel to pull out the next four points and seal the game.
The second game was as close as the first with neither pair giving too big an advantage to the other. But after making a couple of errors, the defending champions remarkably won seven straight points to go into a 18-15 lead which they soon converted into 20-16.
Undeterred, the Malaysian youngsters saved five match points -- four on the trot -- to turn the tie on its head win on their first match-point.
India brought home four medals from the discipline at the Glasgow Games -- 1 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze.
(Posted on 03-08-2014)