Calgary: India’s most successful badminton pair Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa earned a straight games win to enter the women’s doubles semi-finals of the $50,000 Canada Open Grand Prix at the Markin MacPhail Centre here.
The third seeds, who matched their best ever ranking of No.13 on Thursday, needed only 27 minutes to move past the Hong Kong combine of Chan Kaka Tsz Ka and Yuen Sin Ying 21-19, 21-13 on Friday in the first ever meeting between the two pairs.
The first game was quite a neck-and-neck affair right till the end. It was only at 19-all that the Indian combine found legs to win the next two points to seal the game in their favour.
The second game was also fought pretty much at the same level till 13-all when Jwala and Ashwini won eight successive points to close the game and match in their favour.
This is the World No.13 pair’s second successive semi-final entry after reaching the penultimate stage last week at the US Open Grand Prix Gold.
The Indian pair, who won the 2011 World Championship bronze, will next take on the Japanese combination of Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto. One would expect the multiple Commonwealth Games medallists to ease through the semis as their opponents are ranked way below at No.98.
However, it was the end of the road for the other Indian shuttlers — Ajay Jayaram, B. Sai Praneeth and women’s doubles pair of Pradnya Gadre and N. Sikki Reddy — all of whom lost their respective quarter-final matches.
Men’s singles top seed Marc Zwiebler of Germany accounted for ninth seeded Jayaram, who lost 16-21, 15-21 in 34 minutes. Tenth seed Sai followed his compatriot as he went down to former World No.1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia 13-21, 21-18, 11-21 in a 51-minute battle. Then, Hong Kong pair Poon Lok Yan and Tse Ying Suet defeated Pradnya and Sikki 21-18, 23-25, 21-15 in 58 minutes.