It was a bittersweet day for India; Saina Nehwal crashed out of the women’s singles but the mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju earned a shot at the World Super Series Masters title, here today.
World number eight Saina lost her hard fought semifinal 18-21 18-21 to German Juliane Schenk while Jwala and Diju pipped Polish pair of Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Kostiuczy 21-19 21-11 in their semifinal.
Saina fought her heart out in the 40-minute battle but her opponent proved too good in the end.
In the first game, Saina trailed 3-6 before making it six-all but the German soon consolidated her lead to 13-8 and maintained that till the end.
In the second game, Juliane raced to a 4-1 lead but the Indian was not ready to give in easily and soon made it 7-7.
However, the German was unnerved and clinched the issue. Saina blamed unforced errors for her defeat. “I didn’t play well today. She was moving very fast and I couldn’t match that. My dribbles were not going right and I was hitting the shuttles outside. So I conceded a lot of points as unforced errors,” a dejected Saina said after the match.
“There were good rallies but I just couldn’t play as well as I would have wanted. She was scoring more than I could,” she added.
However, world number seven pair of Jwala and Diju brought smiles to the Indian camp by making the final and will take on Dane combo of Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen.
In their semis, they opened up a 2-0 lead but Mateusiak and Kostiuczy gave them a tough fight as the game was going neck-and-neck till the end. The scores reached 19-19 but the Indian players held their nerves to pocket the first game.
In the next game, the Indians, who won the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix Gold in August this year, were at heir
aggressive best and surged to a 7-0 lead as Robert-Nadiezda's game crumbled.
Gutta was extremely happy with the way they have performed in the tournament. “Nobody really gave us a chance of coming this far in the tournament, let alone qualifying for the final but we did it. In fact, even we were sceptical of reaching the last four as I've not been training for the past two-and-a-half weeks due to a viral infection,” Gutta said.
The Jwala-Diju team has been creating waves on the circuit ever since their comeback in early 2008. They had won Bitburger Open and Bulgarian Open last year. The combo had also reached the final of the Indian Open Grand Prix Gold in March besides making the quarterfinals of the World Badminton Championship in Hyderabad in August.