Updated: March 11, 2020 6:32:35 pm
Pinching a set off the World No 1 Chinese pair Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiaong, the Indian World No 26 Pranav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy couldn’t keep the same composure in the decider. The Indians went down 21-13, 11-21, 21-17 to the top-ranked Chinese though there were many moments when they knew they controlled the rallies.
With national coach P Gopichand sitting behind the players for the match, the Indians took their chances poking holes into the Chinese game.
The plan involved catching the women’s player Huang Ya Qiaong at the net and going for the male player, Zheng’s forehand with menace to push the decider.
“We played well, Gopi coach was sitting behind us giving good tips. I was feeling very positive on court because Gopi sir was like, you are good at the net and can challenge her. Just trust me and challenge her on the forecourt,” the left-handed Sikki said.
The Indians worked up some rhythm in the opener, with Jerry showing good control in his attack. Keeping the shuttles away from their opponents, but controlling it to the corners, the Indians really came into their own in the second after lagging 21-13.
“Coach kept telling us to not finish the rally until we were 100% sure and that patience helped in the second. Catching Siewei Zheng forehand was the tip that really helped,” she said.
However the Indians would run out of steam after staying in the hunt at 10-all, chasing down a 9-3 deficit. “In the decider, wrong choice of strokes did us in,” Sikki added. Hurrying to finish after levelling the set scores also flatlined them at 17-17. “We should have stayed calm and taken little more time and played,” she sighed.
The Indians know their opponents well but needed constant urging to maintain the intensity. “We have played them before and know their game pretty well, so coach said don’t try getting quick points. Play everything far and keep moving you legs. Enjoy the game, there is nothing to lose,” she said.
The Chinese adept at finishing, would race to the finish and leave India’s second best pairing to mull over their misses.
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