For the last three days, Jwala Gutta had been constantly on the phone, checking the medical update of her friend Ayazuddin, son of former India cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin, who was battling for life in a Hyderabad hospital.
A few hours before her mixed doubles quarterfinal in the China Masters Super Series event in Changzhou on Friday, Jwala received the news of Ayazuddin passing away.
But the 28-year-old managed to keep her composure and teamed up with V Diju to reach only their second Super Series semifinal.
The Indian duo came from behind to beat Robert Blair of Scotland and Grabrielle White of England 17-21, 21-19, 21-9 to set up a last-four clash against Yeon Seong Yoo and Ye Na Jang of Korea.
Jwala and Diju, who had upset second-seeded Tao Jiaming and Qing Tian of China in the opening round, were well below par in the opening game but staged a comeback after the change of ends.
"I was struggling with my concentration in the opening game. Ayaz and Asad (Azhar's second son) are very good friends of mine. But then, I decided to just focus on the match at hand," she told HT from Changzhou. "I dedicate today's win to him."