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PV Sindhu, Jwala-Ashwini assured of bronze

Gimcheon(Korea): Teen sensation P V Sindhu and the pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa were today assured of bronze medals after reaching their respective semifinals in the women's singles and women's doubles events of the prestigious Asian Badminton Championship here today.

World number 10 Sindhu took close to an hour to outwit Ongbumrungpan Busanan 14-21 21-13 21-10 to stretch her head-to-head record against the Thailand girl to 3-0, at the Gimcheon Indoor Stadium.

The 18-year-old, who had won the bronze medal at the World Championship last year, will next look to avenge her India Super Series loss to China's Shixian Wang, the two-time reigning All England Champion.

In the women's doubles competition, Commonwealth Games gold medallist combo of Jwala and Ashwini, who had won the bronze at the 2011 London World Championship and also represented India at the 2012 Olympics, today notched up a 21-12 21-12 win over Malaysian pair of Anscelly Amelia Alicia and Soong Fie Cho in a 40-minute match.

In the men's singles, R M V Gurusaidutt, however, suffered a heartbreak.

The rising Indian shuttler played his heart out before losing 24-22 9-21 13-21 to Liu Kai of China in a match that lasted an hour.

Sindhu faltered with her smashes in the first game and made a few errors as Busanan took the game away to put the Indian on the backfoot, before she bounced back brilliantly in the second.

Down 8-10 in the second, Sindhu produced cross court smashes and played well at the nets too, even as Busanan made a lot of errors.

In the third game, Sindhu dominated right from start and comfortably closed the door on her rival. "Overall, it was a good match. Sindhu played very well apart from the first game. From the second game onwards, she was up and her smashes also improved and she dominated the third game," National coach Pullela Gopichand told PTI.

Sindhu's father Ramana was confident that Sindhu would be able to avenge her loss to Shixian tomorrow.

"I am sure she will play well tomorrow and beat Shixian. She is world number two but I think Sindhu knows what she has to do," he said.

India's top shuttler Saina Nehwal had won the bronze in the 2010 Asian Badminton Championship at Siri Fort Stadium in New Delhi.

Jwala and Ashwini, who had snapped their partnership after the London Olympics only to join hands late last year, assured themselves of another medal by their performance here.

The duo will next take on China's Luo Ying and Luo Yu.

In the men's singles, Guru had a difficult time taming Liu but his determination and grit helped him to eke out a 24-22 win in the first game and earn the bragging rights.

However, Guru could not play at the same pace in the second and third game as the Chinese broke the game plan of the Indian to eventually slam the door on him.

"I didn't start well in the second and third game. He slowed down the game and kept me at the back most of the time," said a dejected Guru.

Ashwini Ponnappa said the win today was a big boost for her and her partner Jwala Gutta. "It is a great win and a big boost for us. We played very well today. We just hang in there and dominated the match, leading all through. We knew it was a matter of time before we get results. We knew we just have to practice. And more we play we will get better," said Ponnappa.

Asked about their next round rival, Ashwini said: "They are a good pair. We played against them in Singapore and we lost. Let's see. We will give our best."

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