|Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa
Gimcheon (Korea): Teen sensation PV Sindhu and the pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa were, on Friday, assured of bronze medals after reaching their respective semi-finals in the women’s singles and women’s doubles events of the prestigious Asian Badminton Championship.
World No. 10 Sindhu took close to an hour to outwit Ongbumrungpan Busanan 14-21, 21-13, 21-10 to stretch her head-to-head record against the Thailand girl to 3-0, at the Gimcheon Indoor Stadium.
The 18-year-old, who had won the bronze medal at the World Championship last year, will next look to avenge her India Super Series loss to China’s Shixian Wang, the two-time reigning All England Champion.
In the women’s doubles competition, Commonwealth Games gold medallist combo of Jwala and Ashwini, who had won the bronze at the 2011 London World Championship and also represented India at the 2012 Olympics, notched up a 21-12, 21-12 win over Malaysian pair of Anscelly Amelia Alicia and Soong Fie Cho in a 40-minute match.
In the men’s singles, RMV Gurusaidutt, however, suffered heartbreak. The rising Indian shuttler played his heart out before losing 24-22, 9-21, 13-21 to Liu Kai of China in a match that lasted an hour. Sindhu faltered with her smashes in the first game and made a few errors as Busanan took the game away to put the Indian on the backfoot, before she bounced back brilliantly in the second.
Down 8-10 in the second, Sindhu produced cross court smashes and played well at the nets too, even as Busanan made a lot of errors. In the third game, Sindhu dominated right from start and comfortably closed the door on her rival.
“Overall, it was a good match. Sindhu played very well apart from the first game. From the second game onwards, she was up and her smashes also improved and she dominated the third game,” National coach Pullela Gopichand said.
Sindhu’s father Ramana was confident that Sindhu would be able to avenge her loss to Shixian. “I am sure she will play well tomorrow (Saturday) and beat Shixian. She is world No. 2 but I think Sindhu knows what she has to do,” he said.
Jwala and Ashwini assured themselves of another medal by their performance here. The duo will next take on China’s Luo Ying and Luo Yu.