India, Malaysia in team final
India and Malaysia qualified for the final of the team event of the Commonwealth Games, albeit in contrasting styles.
While India, who were initially expected to be given a tough time by England, won 3-0, Malaysia dropped a match when its singles player Wong Mew Choo was beaten by Singapore’s Xing Aiying. But Malaysia still had too much power and won 3-1.
India took a 1-0 lead with mixed doubles pairing of Jwala Gutta/V.Diju easily defeating Nathan Robertson/Jenny Wallwork 21-17, 21-17.
In the men’s singles, India sprung a surprise by fielding P.Kashyap instead of the more experienced Chetan Anand against Rajiv Ouseph. And Kashyap played brilliantly to outclass the higher seeded Ouseph.
With nothing to lose the 24 year old who hails from Hyderabad attacked the Englishman with an array of strokes, punishing every mistake with telling effect to win 21-13, 21-17 and more importantly put India on the road to victory.
“It was tough as Rajiv is ranked 16 and I made several mistakes in the match. I was not told that I was playing until this morning so I was somewhat unprepared,” said Kashyap.
And then it was Saina Nehwal who stepped onto the court to complete the formality by defeating Elizabeth Cann 21-18, 21-10 to put India into the final.
“I played just 40% of my ability and still won the match. It was not tough at all and I look forward to the final,” said Saina.
For Elizabeth, the defeat was painful but she was encouraged by the fact that she played much better against Saina this time around.
“She is ranked third in the world and I am down at 30, so I kind of expected the result. Besides the Indian crowd was a plus point for the home team today,” said Elizabeth.
Malaysia got its first point via the mixed doubles pair of Koo Kien Keat/Chin Ee Hui who easily brushed aside Yao Lei/Tiryachat Chayut 21-17, 21-13.
World No 1 Lee Chong Wei was given a tough time by youngster Darren Wong but used his experience to down the Singaporean 21-19, 21-18.
Darren was a fighter as he matched Chong Wei in every department and even led 14-13 at one stage.
He led 19-17 but lacked the experience to finish off the match. And this allowed Chong Wei to claw back and win the first game 21-19. It was the same in the second as Chong Wei finished off the match at 21-18 and delivered the second point for Malaysia.
Singapore reduced the deficit to 2-1 with Aiying’s win over Mew Choo, but Malaysia confirmed their place in the final when Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong defeated Hendra Wijaya/Triyachart Chayut 21-7, 21-13.
The bronze medal play off between England and Singapore is scheduled to start at 1400 hours India time while the final will be played at 1900 hours.