Indian pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Tanisha Crasto produced a valiant fight before going down in a thrilling three-game women’s doubles final at the Syed Modi International super 300 badminton tournament in Lucknow on Sunday. The World No. 32 Indian pair, which had clinched the Nates International Challenge and Abu Dhabi Masters Super 100 this year, lost 14-21 21-17 15-21 against third seeds Rin Iwanaga and Kie Nakanishi of Japan in a 77-minute clash to make a creditable runner-up finish.
The seventh seeded Indians made good starts but couldn’t sustain the pressure in the opening game.
Ashwini, 36, and 20-year-old Tanisha, who started playing together only in January this year, roared back into the contest after winning the second game and fought back from 1-8 down in the decider to 13-15 before the World No. 15 Japanese marched ahead.
Tanisha dazzled in the frontcourt, producing some precise placements, as the Indian pair lead 7-4 in the opening game.
The Japanese pair clawed back with three points before Ashwini came into the fore, sending down a couple of smash to lead 11-8 at the break.
However, Rin and Kie managed to turn the tables with four straight points.
Things went downhill thereafter as the Indian pair inexplicably fell into a pool of unforced errors as the Japanese led 18-12.
The six-point stretch was broken when the Japanese went to the net but Tanisha next faltered with a forehand to hand six game points to their opponents, who sealed it when Ashwini went wide.
The Indian pair once again made a good start to the second game, leading 6-3.
The home shuttlers tried to target the body, and use flick serve but Tanisha often struggled to reach the shuttler on the sidelines and also committed a couple of service errors, allowing Rin and Kie make it 7-8.
The Indians managed to eke out a 11-9 lead at the interval.
Ashwini’s smash and a couple of flat serves helped the Indians to move to 16-11. The Japanese cut the deficit to 15-17 with Tanisha committing service fault and also finding net.
However, the Indian duo ensured they had a healthy four game points which they converted after the Japanese went to the net.
In the decider, Rin and Kie came out all cylinders blazing, zooming to 8-1 in a jiffy. A booming smash bisecting the two Japanese broke the run of play. The Indians tried to extend the rallies, drawing out a series of errors from their opponents to manage to bring the lead down to 7-9.
A backhand going to net from Tanisha handed the Japanese a 11-8 lead at the midgame break.
It was 12-14 after resumption with Tanisha producing some precise placements. But the Japanese were back to four-point lead at 17-13 with a couple of returns from Tanisha going to net.
Tanisha sprayed into the net to give five championship points to the Japanese, who wrapped it up at the first chance.
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