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Sunday, October 2, 2022

CWG 2022: Eyes on Sindhu, Lakshya, men's doubles pair to salvage Indian badminton's pride (Ld)

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Kidambi Srikanth lost in the men’s singles semifinals as did the young women’s doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand. They will be fighting for the bronze medals later in the evening as India looks set for a rich haul for the second successive Commonwealth Games. India had already won silver in the Mixed Team competition in Birmingham after losing to Malaysia in the final earlier this week.

With a lot at stake for the Indian badminton contingent following a superb show in Gold Coast four years ago, Sindhu, the former World Champion and world No 1, set the ball rolling for India with a dominant win against Yeo Jia Min of Malaysia in the women’s singles semi-finals.

Sindhu was at her clinical best as she defeated the Malaysian rival in straight games, winning the match 21-10, 21-17 in quick time. The 27-year-old from Hyderabad had too many weapons in her arsenal and did not have to break a sweat in reaching her second successive women’s singles final. IN 2018, she had lost to compatriot Saina Nehwal in the final.

She will play Michelle Li of Canada in the final on Monday.

Lakshya Sen made it to the men’s singles final after beating Jia Heng Teh of Singapore in the semifinal, recovering from a loss in the second game to quell the challenge of the Singapore shuttler 21-10, 18-21, 21-18.

Sen got off to a good start as he won the first game 21-10 taking early control, and moved his opponent around to win six points in a row at one juncture to win the first game.

The Singapore shuttler came back strongly in the second game and won seven points in a row to take lead. He had a seven-point lead at one time before Sen managed to close the gap but Teh won three points in a row to win the game and level scores. Sen won the close decider, in which the players went neck-and-neck, 21-18 to make it to his maiden final in the Commonwealth Games.

Srikanth had a chance of making to his second consecutive men’s singles final but lost to Malaysia’s Tze Yong Ng, the man to whom he had lost in the Mixed Team final. The Malaysian had got the better of Srikanth in three games in the Mixed Team final and produced the same verdict in the men’s singles semifinal too.

Srikanth won the first game 21-13 but lost a very close second game 19-21, winning the closely-fought game in which the scores went neck-and-neck on his first game point.

By this time, Srikanth started committing unforced errors — lifting services long beyond the baseline and making errors in judgment as Ng dominated the third game and won 21-10 to seal the victory and a place in the final against Sen..

The young women’s doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and P. Gayatri Gopichand went down to Malaysia’s experienced pair Tan Kong Le Pearly and Thinaah Muralitharan 13-21, 16-21 in their maiden semifinal of this stature. The young Indian pair tried to put up some fight but the Malaysians were too strong and did not make many mistakes.

The men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, just like Sindhu, made their second successive finals in men’s doubles. Satwik and Chirag had won silver in 2018 and are now hoping to upgrade it to gold this time around.

They scored a straight game win against Chan Pong Soon and Tan Kian Meng of Malaysia 21-8, 21-15 in a rather one-sided encounter. Ranked 8th in the BWF rankings, the first Indian men’s doubles team to do so, Satwik and Chirag played to their potential and emerged easy winners to set up a summit clash with Ben Lane and Sean Wendy of England, who overcame Malaysia’s Teng Fong Aaron Chia and Wooi Yik Soh in three games, winning 18-21, 21-17, 21-4 to seal a place in Monday’s final.

<br>–Ajit Weekly News

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News Credits – I A N S

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