Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa etched their names in history books on Friday when they became the first Indian pair to ensure a medal at the World Badminton Championships.
The Commonwealth Games gold medallists defeated 12th seeds Vita Marrisa and Nadya Melati of Indonesia 17-21, 21-10, 21-17 to storm into the women's doubles semifinal in London on Friday, thereby ensuring at least a bronze.
Jwala and Ashwini's performance also ended India's 28-year medal drought in the flagship event.India's only other medal in the championship came in 1983 when Prakash Padukone bagged the men's singles bronze in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The unseeded pair removed the gloom in the India camp after the loss of Saina Nehwal earlier in the day.
The world number 21 pair began on a slow note and played catch up through the first set. But the late charge in the opener gave them the confidence to go on the attack.
"Jwala was fantastic with her service and net play, while the opposition had no answer to Ashwini's smashes," chief national coach, Pullela Gopi Chand, told HT.
Jwala and Ashwini had created a buzz with a straight sets hammering of second seeds Wen Hsing Cheng and Yu Chin Chien of the Chinese Taipei in the second round.
"That victory gave us the confidence that we could match the best in the world," said Jwala.
On Thursday, they rallied from a set down to beat 11th seeds Lok Yan Poon and Ying Suet Tse of Hong Kong to come within whispering distance of a medal.
They will now face fifth seeds Qing Tian and Yunlei Zhao of China for a berth in the final.
Saina goes down without a fight
Earlier, Saina proved to be a disappointment as she failed to conjure up a challenge against third seed Xin Wang of China. She lost 21-15, 21-10 in just 30 minutes in the women's singles quarterfinals.
It is difficult to decipher whether it is the quarterfinal jinx or just another bad day in office for Saina.
The 21-year-old, who had lost at this stage in the last two editions as well and at the 2008 Olympics and 2010 Asian Games, had little to offer against Xin. “I can't pin point what went wrong. I guess she just succumbed to the pressure,” said Gopi Chand.
The way Saina started, it looked she was continuing on the path she had charted in the earlier rounds, using her deceptive shots and net dribbles to earn points in bulk.
However, unlike her earlier opponents, Xin showed the patience to figure out the pattern of her strokes and had little trouble thereafter.