Birmingham: The Indian women’s pairing of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand’s sensational run came to an end as they signed off with a second successive semi-final finish at the All England Championships in Birmingham on Saturday.
The two young shuttlers found the going tough against Korean world number 20 pairing of Baek Na Ha and Lee So Hee, losing 10-21 10-21 in a 46-minute women’s doubles contest at the Utilita arena.
Gayatri’s father Pullela Gopichand, the chief national coach, was the last Indian to win the All England crown, in 2001, the first being the legendary Prakash Padukone in 1980.
Gayatri, 20, and Treesa, 19, had a big opportunity to reach the finals but it ended in anticlimax as they played into the hands of the Koreans.
The Indians were pitted against Baek and Lee, the latter being an experienced player with two world championships medals to boost with former partner Shin Seung-chan.
In fact, Lee and Shin had faced defeat against the Indian pair in the last edition but the Koreans have been relentless this week with wins over second and eighth seeds and looked in supreme touch as they came up with a tactical masterclass.
Ha Na Baek & So Hee Lee are our first #YAE23 finalists!
They beat Jolly & Pullela 21-10 21-10 in this morning’s first match 🇰🇷 pic.twitter.com/WQPKqYfws5
— 🏆 Yonex All England Badminton Championships 🏆 (@YonexAllEngland) March 18, 2023
The Koreans turned into a retrieving machine as they defended seamlessly and extended the rallies with their high tosses and lifts to not allow the Indians to play their short flat rally game.
The result was that Gayatri and Treesa failed to make a good start, like they did in this week, falling behind 0-4 early on.
Lee and Baek frustrated the Indians with longer rallies, waiting patiently for their opponents to make errors. It worked perfectly as the Koreans grabbed a 11-5 lead.
Briefly the Indians made it 9-13 but it was a one-way traffic from 14-10, with the Koreans drawing the first blood with seven straight points, including the last which went long from Gayatri.
The Koreans didn’t kill the shots at the nets and kept playing more high lifts with the Indians sticking with their smashes from the back court.
Gayatri and Treesa couldn’t change their tactics and went wide and long too many times as Lee and Baek zoomed to a massive 11-2 lead at the mid-game interval of the second game.
Gayatri had her moment of brilliance, when she mixed body shots with a drop to grab a point to move to 5-11 after resumption, but such instances were too few.
The Indians managed just five more points before Treesa hit the net to hand 10 match points to the Koreans, who sealed their place in the final after another long rally.
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- Jolly, Gopichand bow out of All England Championships with semi-final loss
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