A clinical victory for the Indian; Jwala-Ashwini pair exit despite win
After clinching victory, P. Kashyap sunk to his knees, thrilled with his achievement. It was a moment that captured his emotions at the Wembley Arena.
Kashyap may have just advanced to the knockout stage, but the 21-9, 21-14 win over 10th seed Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam meant much more than a berth in the knockout of the men’s singles in badminton.
The 25-year-old from Andhra Pradesh had endured sleepless nights after losing — from a position where he had five match-points — to the Vietnamese in the second round of the world championship at the same arena last year.
“I had lost seven points in a row from 20-15. I couldn’t win one point then. So, even when I led 18-14 this time in the second game, I knew he was dangerous,” said Kashyap, quite happy with the clinical victory.
In total control
Kashyap controlled the match right from the start and kept his wiry opponent in check. He was sharp and displayed his all-round efficiency even though the Vietnamese looked a shade better at the net.
Kashyap moved him around the court and came up with crisp smashes to keep Nguyen in check. It was a delight to see him close out the contest with three smashes.
“I was confident that I would win, but didn’t expect the score to be like this. I was very aware of that defeat to him when I lost seven points in a row. I had beaten him a few times, but he had won the last few matches,” said Kashyap, who was a bit disappointed that his father could not reach London in time to see him in action in the league phase, owing to a delay in getting the visa. In both the sets, he wrested the initiative midway, and cruised through with a razor-sharp game that should give him the edge in the pre-quarterfinals against Niluka Karunaratne of Sri Lanka.
“The Sri Lankan cannot be taken lightly since he has beaten eighth-seeded Kenichi Tago of Japan in the league, that too in straight games,” said Kashyap. “I have worked a lot on my game, and I hope I continue like this,” added Kashyap.
Coach Gopi Chand praised Kashyap for the precise execution of the strategy against a quality player. “I was happy that he stayed calm. He has worked on a lot of things, not just on fitness. It was a challenging field and he has come out strong,” said Gopi, hoping that Kashyap would capitalise on the start.
Jwala-Diju pair out
The Indian challenge, however, in mixed doubles came to an end as G. Jwala and V. Diju lost 15-21, 15-21 to Lee Yong Dae and Ha Jung Eun of Korea in the third and last league match in group ‘C’. The Indian pair had looked good against the third-seeded Tortowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia, but failed to win a set in three matches.
Win in vain
It was a bitter-sweet result for India’s Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa as they came up with their top game to win their last Group B match against Shinta Mulia Sari and Lei Yao of Singapore, but it wasn’t enough for them to progress to the quarterfinals. The Indians, who lost their opening match, beat the Singaporean girls 21-16, 21-15 in just 31 minutes.
But the win wasn’t enough as Jawala and Ashwni, world championship bronze medallists, finished third despite winning two matches like group toppers Yu Chin Chien and Wen Hsing Cheng of Chinese Tapiei and Japanese duo Reika Kakiiwa and Mizuki Fujii.
The Chinese Taipei and the Japanese team went through to the quarterfinals on the basis of better points.