Indian duo Gutta Jwala and Ashwini Ponappa faltered in the semi-final of the World badminton championship women’s doubles when they lost to Chinese fifth-seeded pair of Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei 14-21, 16-21 in London on Saturday night.
The unseeded pair from India, which had a dream run in this championship, paid a heavy price for being erratic when it mattered most. There were moments when both Jwala at the net and Ashwini in the backcourt came up with some impressive strokes in the 38-minute semi-final.
Jwala was the more dominating at the net in the first game and it was she who scored most of the points even as Ashwini was erratic with her returns, especially from the baseline.
But, the Chinese combine was equal to the task always showing the ability to pull away from a probable crisis, controlling the pace of the game splendidly. They were really successful in confusing the Indian combination with their wonderful placements.
In the second game, Jwala and Ashwini looked a much better duo with the latter coming up with some telling smashes, one of them clocking 219 kmph. That was the phase when Ashwini was also able to unsettle the opponents with her low, backhand serve.
But, just when it looked that Jwala and Ashwini would take the issue into the decider, errors started creeping into their game even as the Chinese players executed some precise body-smashes.
And, when Jwala hit her cross-court smash out, it was curtains for what had been a really fantastic campaign for the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallists.
“Honestly, I am not disappointed with this performance. It would have been certainly better had they won today. But, I must confess they stunned many critics by reaching the semi-final and in the process created history of sorts for Indian badminton,” remarked Gopi Chand later.