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Suthirta-Pooja pair wins a bronze




New Delhi, July 5: Indian paddlers, continuing their good run and form, created a flutter when Sutirtha Mukherjee and Pooja Sahasrabudhe defeated crowd favourites Miao Miao and Jian Fang Lay from Australia 3-1 (11-9, 12-14, 8-11, 9-11) to enter the semifinals women doubles in the Seamaster 2017 Australian Open at Gold Coast this morning.


The Australian pairing was the more experienced on the court, yet the Suthirtha and Pooja didn’t back down. They had answers for the unique style of play by Lay. “Jian Fang Lay is very tricky and has an odd game. We discussed a strategy with our coach Massimo Costantani before the match. We were prepared and the strategy worked,” added Pooja


“We were very excited. I feel beating Australia in Australia was something special,” said Pooja Sahasrabudhe. But the pair did admit that the clash with the top-seeded Chinese was more than a formidable test.


Before the semifinals this afternoon, the Indians said that they would try their best. But that was not good enough as it was another match for the experienced Chinese pair which went about its job methodically.


The pair’s luck ran out and the Indians had to satisfy themselves with the bronze medal when they lost to the Chinese duo of Chen Meng and Zhu Ling, who are also the top seed. The Chinese disposed of the Indians quickly with an easy 11-4, 11-6, 11-2 victory. Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling were imperious in their match against Sutirtha and Pooja as the no.1 seeds were in complete control on the court, booking a place in the final.


Earlier,  in men singles Harmeet Desai lost to Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura, the No.12 seed (11-7, 11-6, 16-14, 11-8), but Sanil Shetty upset Korea’s Jang Woojin, the No.13 seed, (11-9, 3-11, 12-10, 11-3, 6-11, 11-8) and G. Sathiyan accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An, the No.14 seed (11-6, 4-11, 1-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9), two biggest achievements for the Indians in the round of 32.


In the pre-quarterfinals to be played later this evening, Sathiyan will take on Frenchman Simon Gauzy while Sanil will clash with Cho Seungmin of South Korea in tough outings.