Jwala Gutta and V. Diju got a taste of their own medicine when Indonesia’s Flandy Limpele and Vita Marissa exploited the Indian pair’s lack of experience of playing against a left-right combination to lift the mixed doubles title in the $120,000 Yonex Sunrise India Open here on Sunday.
The second-seeded Indian pair had used their left-right partnership to great effect in the run-up to the final but on Sunday the experienced Limpele not only nullified that advantage but also made the most of their vulnerability against a left-handed shuttler to win the final 21-14, 21-17.
Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat and France’s Pi Hongyan expectedly bagged the men and women singles title. Second seed Hidayat defeated 10th Muhammada Hafiz Hashim 21-18, 21-19 while Hongyan staged a comeback from a game down to beat Julia Pei Wong of Malaysia 17-21, 21-15, 21-14.
The women’s doubles pair of Jin Ma and Xiaoli Wang gave China their only title of the tournament, while the Malaysian men’s doubles combination of Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah kept their World Championship hopes alive with a crushing 21-9, 21-11 win over Singapore’s Hendra Wijaya and Hendri Saputra.
The sizeable crowd at the Gachibowli Stadium was hoping to see history being created but the Indian combination failed to raise its game when it mattered the most.
The Bitburger and Bulgaria Grand Prix champions came into the final without dropping a game but the experience and guile of the Olympic semifinalist caught them off guard. “He (Limpele) being a left hander did force us to change our game plan but more than that he was very deceptive and it was very difficult to read him,” said Jwala after the match.
This is the third time that an Indian player or combination reached the final of the India Open but faltered at the last hurdle. National coach Pullela Gopichand had lost to Hariyanato Arbi of Indonesia in 1999 and last year Chetan Anand went down to Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand.
The Indian combination failed to get off to a good start as Limpele used his height advantage to target Jwala with his forehand drives and smashes. It was only in the second game that the Indians managed to find some rhythm by taking a 17-13 lead. But an unforced error put paid to their hopes.