The second Grand Prix Gold tournament of the year promised exciting matches as the Olympic qualifying period is nearing its end. Players are eager to earn vital points, as a GP Gold tournament is only second to the Super Series tournament in terms of the points earned by the winner. The Quarter Finals day was full of surprises, was the Semi Final day able to live up to the expectations? Did the Indian players take advantage of home conditions? Let’s find out!
With the top seeds, KO and KIM haven withdrawn their entry from the tournament, the upper half of the draw witnessed unseeded pairs battling it out in the Semis. It was the pair of Dechapol and Taerattanachai (Thailand) who came on top in a hard-fought three-game match against Kazuno and Kurihara (Japan) 19-21 21-9 21-17.
The other Semi was the match of the 2nd and the 3rd seeds. In a match which lasted well over an hour, it was the Semi-Finalists of the BWF Super Series Finals 2015, Jordan and Susanto (Indonesia) who defeated Shin and Chae (Korea) 18-21 21-11 21-16.
The first Semi saw the first seeds from Korea, Chang and Lee, take on third seeds from Netherlands, Muskens and Piek. It was the 3rd seeds who came with a victory rather easily in 40 mins 21-17 21-8. The first seeds looked down and low on confidence in the second game.
In the other much-awaited Semi, Indian fans were disappointed by not the result, but by the performance they saw. There were many expectations riding on CWG Gold Medalists, Ashwini and Jwala when they entered a fully filled BBD Stadium in Lucknow. The Indians were completely dominated by their opponents, Jung and Shin (Korea), 21-14 21-16. The performance was disappointing, with Olympic round the corner, such performances are not expected from the top doubles pairing from the country.
The Men’s Doubles is proving to be the most exciting category in this tournament, as all the top seeds bowed out in the early stages of the tournament.
Haven seen, Jwala and Ashwini loose in the Semis, Indians fans weren’t expecting much from Pranav and Akshay, when they came out to face Kim and Kim (Asian Games Gold Medalists) from Korea. But the outcome was such that every Indian viewer was on his feet when the match ended. In a match which lasted 67 mins, it was the Indian duo who came out on top 25-23 13-21 21-17. The Indians played a match which showed their class, haven been on the fringes of World Badminton for quite some time, the duo finally had their breakthrough their tournament. Pranav, 23 now, played some great matches in PBL for his Chennai-based badminton team, Whereas, Akshay, the more experienced campaigner has been present in the Indian Badminton Team since his performance caught the eyes of the selector in the 2010 Asian Games. Now every Indian fan wants to see the duo clinch the title and make it into the Olympics.
In another exciting Semi-Final, it was the Malaysian pair of Goh and Tan who bettered their Danish opponents (Olympic Silver Medalists), Boe and Mogensen, in two straight games 21-16 21-18.
Haven defeated India’s rising star, P V Sindhu in the second round of the tournament, a lot was expected from 24-year-old Nitchaon Jindapol (Thailand). But the expectations was overpowered by the seeding, when her great run was ended by the 2nd seeded Sung (Korea) In two straight games 21-16 21-8.
In other Semi, it was Sayaka Sato (Japan) who triumphed over Porntip (Thailand) 21-15 21-17.
Haven shown glimpses of his top form during the course of the tournament, a lot was riding on K Srikanth when he entered the TV Court to face a much-experienced opponent Boonsak Ponsana (Thailand). Srikanth showed a composure way above his years, completely killed the match with his aggressive attack. Srikanth triumphed in 32 mins 21-14 21-7. This is his third consecutive final in this competition.
In other all Chinese Semi Final, it has Huang who defeated Shi, in a tough three-game thriller 17-21 22-20 21-12.
With Olympics round the corner and haven dropped from World No.4 to 9, added the home pressure, can Srikanth clinch the title? Or will the Jinx continue? Do watch the Finals and Support your Player. And KEEP SMASHING HARD!