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Sindhu settles for a bronze

Gimcheon: PV Sindhu and Commonwealth Games gold medallist pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa had to settle for bronze medals after losing their respective semi-finals matches in the Asian Badminton Championship, on Saturday.

The 18-year-old Sindhu fought hard for one hour and 18 minutes before losing to two-time and reigning All England champion Shixian 21-15, 20-22, 12-21 in the women’s singles competition.

In women’s doubles, Jwala and Ashwini failed to breach the defence of Luo Yu and Luo Ying, and suffered a 12-21, 7-21 loss to the world No. 10 Chinese pair. Sindhu had beaten Shixian thrice in the past but the world No. 2 Chinese had the last laugh in the last two occasions.

The Hyderabadi initially played a perfect game. She was attacking and didn’t have much trouble to keep Shixian away but the Chinese bounced back in the second game as she defended well and slowed down the pace, as the game went down to the wires.

“Overall, Sindhu played well. It was an extremely close and long match. She was up 20-18 but she lost two points while serving. You need a bit of luck in such close matches. It’s okay, at the end of the day you will win some and lose some. I am happy with the way she is playing,” national coach Pullela Gopichand said.

Sindhu’s father Ramana said: “It was a close match and she could have won it in the second game itself. But I guess she needs a little bit of experience to consistently beat these Chinese players. Anyway, now she will be playing in Uber Cup, so that is the next target.”

In the women’s doubles match, former world No. 13 of Jwala and Ashwini suffered for their inconsistent and inaccurate strokes. The Indian duo tried to engage in long rallies with their rivals but faltered while finishing the points.

In the first game, Jwala lost few early points at the net but Ashwini covered the back court brilliantly and produced some great returns to make it 3-3. But some errors at the nets, a service and a receiving error by the Indian pair meant they went into the break down 6-11.

Jwala and Ashwini didn’t have answers to the Lou twins as they faltered with their shots and also lack of variety at the back court affected them as the Chinese led 15-6.

Some delicate shots at the net earned India a few points, finally a good rally ended with Ashwini’s backhand going to nets as China surged to 20-11. Ashwini saved one game point with a delicate dribble but Jwala hit the next wide.

Advised by coach Madhumita Bist, the Indian pair tried to mix up their shots in the second game and engaged in long rallies but the Chinese twins rode on their faster movement on court and impeccable defence to lead 11-2.