Sunday was a day for the Indian tennis squad at the Asian Games in Incheon with five semi-finals featuring our players on the schedule. While India were assured of at least five bronze medals (both the losing semi-finalists in tennis automatically get a bronze medal), the Indian contingent were hoping for some gold and silver ware to make up for the disappointments in other disciplines.
Sania wins in the Mixed; goes down in Women’s Doubles
For the third consecutive Asian Games, Sania Mirza will compete in the gold medal match in the mixed doubles event – the only thing that changes is her partner. Sania won the gold in 2006 with Leander Paes and the silver in 2010 with Vishnu Vardhan. This time, Mirza is through to the final with Saketh Myneni. The duo defeated the Chinese pairing of Jie Zheng/ Zhang Ze 6-1, 6-3 and will meet Chinese Taipei’s Hsieh Yin Peng/ Hao Ching Chan tomorrow.
Sania did not have the same luck in the women’s doubles category as she and Prarthana Thombare went down to Chinese Taipei’s Chin Wei Chan and Su Wei Hsieh 6-7 (1-7), 6-2, 10-4. Although a bronze, this is Sania’s first medal at the Asian Games in the women’s doubles category.
Saketh Myneni/ Sanam Singh reach Men’s Doubles Final
Saketh Myneni will be in line for two gold medals on Monday as he also advanced to the men’s doubles final with Sanam Singh. The duo scored a big win over the Thai twins Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana 4-6 6-3 10-6. India have won the gold in the men’s doubles at the last three Asian Games and that could have been a certainty in Incheon as well but Yuki Bhambri/ Divij Sharan squandered four matchpoints in their semi-final loss to the Korean pair of Lim Yongkyu and Chung Hyeon. Bhambri/ Sharan let two matchpoints slip in the second set tie-breaker and two more in the deciding match tie-breaker before the Koreans finally converted on their first chance to close out a thrilling 7-6 (10-8) 6-7 (8-6) 11-9 win.
Yuki Bhambri ends with two bronze medals
Bhambri’s doubles loss came on the back of his loss in the singles semi-final earlier in the day. The Indian started well against the fast-rising Japanese teenager Yoshihito Nishioka but faded in a 6-3, 2-6, 1-6 loss, ending the day with two bronze medals. Bhambri was clearly outmatched by his younger Japanese opponent, who celebrated his 19th birthday just yesterday, when it came to fitness as he seemed to be struggling physically as the match wore on.