Updated: March 27, 2021 7:00:35 pm
Saina Nehwal bowed out in straight games in the women’s singles semifinals but the unheralded duo of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala kept India in the title hunt by storming into the men’s doubles final at the Orleans Masters here on Saturday.
London Olympic bronze medallist, Saina lost 17-21 17-21 to Denmark’s Line Christophersen in 28 minutes, while women’s duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy also faltered 18-21 9-21 to top seeded Thai pair of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai at the semifinals.
However, Krishna and Vishnu cheered up the Indian camp with a 21-17 21-17 win over English pair of Callum Hemming and Steven Stallwood in a 35-minute semifinal clash to reach their maiden final of a Super 100 event.
The Indian duo, playing their first event together this year, will take on either Indonesian pair of Sabar Karyaman Gutama and Moh Reza Pahlevi Isfahani or fourth-seeded English combination of Ben Lane and Sean Vendy in the title clash on Sunday.
Krishna and Vishnu had a slender 4-2 early on but the English pair soon jumped to a 11-8 lead at the break.
However, the Indian pai soon caught up at 13-13 and marched on to seal the opening game.
In the second game, Krishna and Vishnu slowly moved ahead to a 11-7 advantage at the interval and even though their rivals narrowed down the gap to 15-17, the Indian duo ensured there was no hiccups.
Krishna, 21, is India’s no. 1 ranked doubles player and used to pair up with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in his junior days.
After Satwik and Chirag Shetty were paired together, Krishna started playing with Dhruv Kapila since November, 2016. The duo continued for two and a half years before separating in 2019.
The 20-year-old Vishnu also played with a few other Indian doubles players in his junior days. He and Ishaan Bhatnagar had reached the finals at the 2019 Bulgarian Junior international.
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