Ashwini Ponnappa-Satwiksairaj eyes podium at DutchOpen; cruised into semis

By: Anil
Date: 13 Oct, 2017
Image Courtesy: BWF/Facebook

The new mixed doubles sensation Ashwini Ponnappa - Satwiksairaj stood just a win away from assuring India an elusive medal after the duo stunned Irish-Sweden pair Scott Evans and Amanda Hongstromto enter the mixed doubles semifinals at the Dutch Open on Friday.

The senior-junior Indian duo, who came into the match with a 1-0 head-to-head record, thrashed the Irish-Sweden duo with 21-18, 21-14 in a grueling battle lasting 32 minutes.  

It was a battle of nerves as the Indian pair engaged in super fast rallies trying to close out the points.

Some fierce stroke play was on display with the Indian pair having better control prevailing over the other. In the opening game, the duo Ashwini-Satwik continued their fine form with a convincing 4 point lead at 5-1 and in an edge-of-the-seat contest, Scott and Amanda showed tremendous grit as they matched the Indian strokes at 8-8 and took the lead with 11-10 at first interval.  

In the nail biting first game, neither gave an edge to the other as they moved neck-to-neck till  15-15 when Ashwini-Satwik went for the baseline and made it by a whisker to grab the opening game with 21-18.

The second game too started with the same intensity and went close 8-8 contest and with 4 straight points, the Indian duo zoomed to a 11-7 lead at the interval. The Irish-Sweden pair, surprisingly bounced back in the game and tried to gain a few points and marched to 13-10 with still 3 point lead for the Indians. The Indian duo, then displayed some clinical fierce performance and were on course for victory with 6 straight points and won the game with 21-14, without giving any chance to the opponent.

The Indian pair will have a good chance to cruise to the final as they will meet Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith of England, today, who qualified for the semi-finals by beating Denmark's Mikkel Mikkelsen and Mai Surrow 21-15, 21-8.

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