The Indian mixed doubles pair of V. Diju and Jwala Gutta overcame early sluggishness to beat Singapore’s Chayut Triyachart and Lei Yao and enter the quarterfinals of the World Badminton Championships on Thursday.
Diju and Jwala won 14-21, 21-18, 21-14.
The Indians will now face 12th seeds South Korea’s Sung Hyun Ko and Jung Eun Ha for a place in the semifinals. The Korean pair had shocked fifth seeds Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen of Denmark.
“I don’t think we were at the top of our game,” said Diju. “We made too many mistakes and it’s only later that we managed to piece our game together.”
The Singapore pair was no pushover, which the ninth seed Indians realised fast enough. A lead of 14-13 for Singapore soon became 20-14 before another error at the net from the Indians gave the game away.
Down 0-1, Gutta and Diju knew their work was cut out. The placements became slightly better and Gutta started dominating the net as the lead remained with the Indians at 15-12.
A rash of errors gave Singapore the chance to equalise at 15-15 as the game became tense. India led 17-16 before a bad judgment from Diju ensured Singapore equalised again at 17-17.
“I think that was the turning point,” said Gutta. “We knew if we played to a plan, kept the shuttle in mid-court, we could clinch the second game.”
At 20-18, Gutta served for the second game. The serve was perfect as the shuttle dipped in forcing Yao Lei to hit into the net.
Confident after equalising, Gutta and Diju played the mid-court well and kept the Singaporean pair guessing. High tosses, delicate net play and finally some smashes from the Indians emerged to keep Chayut and Yao at bay.
After the scores were equalised at 10-10, suggesting a close decider, the Indians reeled off points to lead 17-11.
Gutta’s net play was eye-catching as she placed it craftily to keep reeling in the points. At 20-14, match point, India forced yet another error from the Chayut-Yao to clinch the match and a place in the quarterfinals.
“I think a day’s gap made us complacent,” said Gutta.
“But we will be ready for the Korean pair. We would do our best to clinch a semifinal spot at the World Championships.”
Keywords: World Badminton Championships