Singapore endured a hard fought contest with India to win Mixed Team Bronze at Emirates Arena today, but needed six match points in the final rubber to see them home and dry.
With the score drawn at 2-2 after the Men's and Women's Singles and Mixed Doubles matches, the pressure was on Singapore's Women's Doubles pairing of Shinta Mulia Sari (SIN) and Yao Lei.
There were no nerves in sight as the pair powered to a 9-0 lead in the opening match against Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa (IND) before Yao struck the net on return to relinquish service. India fought back to 8-11 at the interval but they couldn’t stem the Singapore flow any further, resulting in a score of 21-17.
In the second game, both sides traded serve and were level at 11-11 and again at 17-17 before Singapore rallied and brought the first match point at 20-19, only to be foiled by a low smash from Gutta.
Ponnappa and then Gutta both drove serves into the net give the advantage and a further two match points to the Singapore pair. Failing to convert them both, a SARI return into the net put India ahead at 23-22 followed by a rapid Sari volley making it it 23-23. Gutta struck the net to gift the fourth match point to Singapore at 24-23 but Gutta again thwarted it with a flick across court.
India survived match point number five at 26-25 to Singapore but at 28-27 Gutta put a return into the net to hand the game, match and Bronze medal to Singapore. The Singapore team and coaches flooded onto the court to embrace the victorious duo and danced in a team huddle to an electric capacity crowd.
Sari said: "The last points were incredible. We knew we had lots of chances to win the medal but we were so happy to finally get the last one."
In the Bronze medal tie's earlier encounters, the Mixed Doubles pairing of Danny Chrisnanta (SIN) and Vanessa Neo (SIN) went toe-to-toe and point-for-point with Ashwini Ponnappa (IND) and Rv Gurusaidutt (IND) and won in two games, 21-19 21-19 respectively.
In the Men's Singles, Singapore sent out World No.144 Huang Chao (SIN) in place of their mainstay Derek Wong (SIN) to face Kashyap Parupalli (IND). The move backfired as the No.1 seed for the Men's Singles event took the first game 21-15 and the second 22-20 to level the tie at 1-1.
In Men's Doubles, Chrisnanta paired up with Chayut Triyachart (SIN) for his second match inside two hours. The gruelling schedule did not appear to show as he and Triyachart dominated Akshay Dewalkar and Pranaav Chopra (IND) from the outset, winning both matches 21-12 and 21-16.
The Women's Singles match went according to plan for India but not before the No.1 seed for the individual event Pv Sindhu (IND) was given a reality check in the first game with Liang Xiaoyu (SIN) winning 24-22 as the nerves were beginning to show in both camps. Sindhu regained her composure for the second game, easing past Liang 21-13.
The Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games was the last time Singapore won a medal in this event, where they achieved Silver.
India won Silver at Delhi 2010 and Bronze at Melbourne 2006, however this this would be the first time an Indian Badminton team has not won a Commonwealth Games medal since Manchester 2002.
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