P Kashyap stood just a win away from a historic gold while P V Sindhu and RMV Gurusaidutt managed a bronze each in the badminton competition of the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Saturday.
Delhi Games gold medallist pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa too were on course to defend their women’s doubles title after winning their last-four match at the Emirates Arena.
World No. 22 Kashyap played out of his skin to avenge his loss to England’s Rajiv Ouseph, who had beaten him at the 2010 Delhi Games and also dumped him during the mixed team event.
In an energy-sapping one hour and 23 minute match, Kashyap bounced back from a game down to edge out World No. 26 Ouseph 18-21 21-17 21-18 and assure himself of at least a silver medal.
World Championship bronze winners Jwala and Ashwini notched up an easy 21-7 21-12 win over Lai Pei Jing and Loo
Yin Lim. The duo will take on World No. 18 Malaysian combo of
Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Khe Wei Woon in the final showdown.
However, it turned out to be a bitter-sweet day for top seed Sindhu, who is playing her first Commonwealth Games, as she suffered a heartbreaking loss in the women’s single semifinal match to Michelle Li of Canada, settling for a bronze in the end.
After going down fighting to Michelle 22-20 22-20 in the last-four encounter, a crestfallen Sindhu managed to get her act together to beat Malaysia’s Jing Yi Tee 23-21 21-9 in a 34-minute bronze medal contest.
Gurusaidutt, too, earned India a bronze later in the day when he eked out a hard-fought 21-15 14-21 21-19 win over Delhi Games silver medallist Ouseph in a men’s singles match that lasted for over an hour.
It could have been an all-Indian final showdown in the men’s singles but Gurusaidutt earlier could not recreate the same magic which saw him beat top seed Chong Wei Feng of Malaysia last night in the quarterfinals.
After battling for more than an hour, Guru went down 21-16 19-21 15-21 against World No. 40 Derek Wong of Singapore in the other semifinals.
London Olympics quarter-finalist, Kashyap will now take on Wong in the summit clash on Sunday.
In the women’s singles bronze medal match, the disappointment of losing the semifinal was writ large on her face as Sindhu struggled with her strokes throughout the first game. She lost a lot of points at the nets to allow a tired Jing to claw back every time Sindhu moved ahead.
At the first break, Sindhu managed to lead 11-10 but the Malaysian was always breathing down her neck as they moved to 17-16 when Sindhu faltered with a forehand net shot and then hit long twice to hand over the lead to Jing.
However, Sindhu didn’t give up and managed to wrest back control and eventually pocketed the first game when Jing hit wide.
After a pep talk from coach Pullela Gopichand, Sindhu found her bearings and the second game turned out to be a cakewalk as Jing continued…