Chetan, Saina help India reach semifinals
Ace Indian shuttlers Chetan Anand and Saina Nehwal notched up contrasting wins as India thrashed Canada 3-0 to set up a semifinal clash with England in the mixed badminton team event of Commonwealth Games today.delhi Updated: Oct 10, 2010 16:10 IST
Ace Indian shuttlers Chetan Anand and Saina Nehwal notched up contrasting wins as India thrashed Canada 3-0 to set up a semifinal clash with England in the mixed badminton team event of Commonwealth Games on Thursday.
Mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju just took 19 minutes to make short work of NG Toby and Gao Grace 21-8 21-12 in the first match of the day to give India a 1-0 lead.
Chetan, however, had a difficult time getting past David Snider. After a roller-coaster first game, Chetan led 15-6 in the second before the Canadian fought back by taking 10 straight points to take 16-15 lead.
But, the Indian kept his cool and engaged in rallies to pulled it off at the end.
"I relaxed a bit and was not quick enough on my feet. I also made too many unforced errors. He retrieved some of my shots and played goods taps at the net. I was in too mind whether to finish it off or play rallies. I did well after levelling at 16 to win it eventually but I need to be more aggressive," said Chetan, who slipped one place down to world number 18 today.
Saina then sealed the issue in India's favour with a 21-16 21-13 victory over her one-time doubles partner Anna Rice in the women's singles.
"Anna is a different player now. She must have put on a lot of hard work coming into the tournament because she was retrieving a lot of my strokes compared to last time we played against each other in 2008. We have been friends. I think she is going full throttle as it is her last tournament," she said.
Four years ago, it was the same tournament which had seen the rise of Saina, then 20-year-old prodigy. After beating Li Li of Singapore in a quarterfinals match, Saina had beaten England's Tracey Hallam 23-21 21-15 in the semifinals to give India a chance to reach the finals.
But the then women's doubles pair of Jwala and Shurti Kurian lost the last match and India went down to England 2-3.
It is the same opponent this time but Saina knows tables have turned and she is not the same player of four years ago anymore.
"It is going to be tough against them. We should be able to win the mixed doubles and women's singles but the rest of the match are tricky but i feel our best bet would be the women's doubles," Saina said.
"I'm confident of pulling off my matches. In 2006 I had beaten the top players of that time such as Tracy and Li Li and now I am a different and much better player. I am not the same Saina any more," she said.
England beat Scotland 3-1, while Malaysia defeated New Zealand 3-0 and Singapore dumped Australia 3-1 in the other quarterfinals matches of the day.