Glasgow, Aug 2 (IANS) Parupalli Kashyap and the pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa assured India’s presence on the last day of the Commonwealth Games by reaching the finals of their respective badminton categories at the Emirates Arena here Saturday.
However, their compatriots P.V. Sindhu and R.M.V. Gurusaidutt had to endure shocking semi-final losses and will be playing the bronze medal play-offs later in the day.
Men’s singles second seed Kashyap earned a hard-fought three-game semi-final victory over England’s Rajiv Ouseph to succeed where he failed last time. The Hyderabadi had lost the semi-final four years ago at home and had to settle for the bronze.
After losing the first game 18-21, Kashyap came back strongly to win the next two 21-17, 21-18 in a marathon match which lasted an hour and 23 minutes.
Both players showcased a great touch game but Kashyap’s defensive abilities and court speed proved too much for the Englishman. The former World No.6 made one too many unforced errors in the first game to give Ouseph the advantage. But he was much more circumspect in the second and made his English opponent cover a lot of ground, moving the shuttle around brilliantly.
In the third, Kashyap totally outclassed Ouseph and opened a big lead. At 20-14, the Indian ace thought he had the match but much to his dismay, the umpire ruled in favour of the Englishman on a line call. There were some nervy moments for Kashyap as Ouseph saved four match points but a stinging overhead smash sealed the Indian’s berth in the final. Kashyap will take on Singapore’s Derek Wong in the final Sunday who overcame Gurusaidutt in the semis.
Fifth seed Gurusaidutt started on a winning note by taking the first game 21-16 but went on to lose the next two 19-21, 15-21. Later he will play Ouseph in the bronze medal match. Women’s doubles defending champions Jwala and Ashwini will once again have a shot at the title they won four years ago by defeating Malaysia’s Loo Yin Lim and Lai Pei Jing in straight games. The Indian combine had a rather easy outing by taking the match 21-7, 21-12 in 27 minutes.
But the biggest disappointment of all was second seed Sindhu’s loss in the women’s singles semi-final. The World Championship bronze medallist suffered a shock straight-games defeat to fourth seeded Canadian Michelle Li. In the absence of top seeded compatriot Saina Nehwal, the 19-year-old shuttler took over the mantle of being the top ranked player in the draw but failed to live up to her billing.
Sindhu lost 20-22, 20-22 in 54 minutes and will now contest in the bronze medal match against Malaysia’s Jing Yi Tee slated later in the day. Michelle was the same opponent that Sindhu had earlier lost to in the mixed teams quarter-final where India beat Canada 3-1.