When India's top doubles combination Shruti Kurian and Jwala Gutta decided to break their decade-old partnership in April this year, doubts were raised over Shruti's future.
While Jwala had been making waves on the mixed-doubles circuit with V Diju, Shruti had to begin from scratch with Aparna Balan. But the new combination has shown promise in the handful of outings together, reaching two finals in three open tournaments.
But they had a forgettable outing on Sunday and lost the summit clash of the Australian Grand Prix to local favourites Chia Chi Huang and He Tian Tang 21-13, 21-9 in Melbourne.
“We didn't have any answer to their retrieving capacity today. We started confidently but it was a bad day in the office,” Shruti told the Hindustan Times from Melbourne.
The pair first came together in the Sudirman Cup, where they began with a loss against Australia but then contributed handsomely in India's promotion to Group 2. They then reached the finals of the Spanish Open and the quarterfinal of the Toulouse Open.
Shruti, who was always considered to be the weaker link in her previous partnership, seems to be enjoying the role of the senior partner and that is showing in the way the pair is playing. “I am now approaching the matches differently and I can feel the difference.”