Asian giants India - Malaysia to battle for mixed team badminton gold in Commonwealth Games
(*Credit image: The Indian Express)
It will be an all-Asian final for the mixed team badminton gold in the 21st Commonwealth Games after defending champions Malaysia crushed Europe's hope England 3-0 in the second semi-final at the Carrara Sports Arena in Gold Coast, Australia on Sunday.
Malaysia have won the mixed team gold in the last three editions of the Games, but are only seeded second in Gold Coast, will face top seeds India in the final on Monday.
India outplayed Singapore 3-1 in the first semi-finals.
The Indians were expected to ease past Singapore without dropping a point but suffered a hiccup in the men's doubles after taking a 2-0 lead by winning the mixed doubles and men's singles in the opening two matches.
Satwik Rankireddy-Ashwini Ponnappa gave the first point with a 22-20, 21-18 win over Terry Hee Yong Kai-Crystal Wong Jia Ying in a 42-minute encounter in the mixed doubles.
K. Srikanth, who won four Superseries titles last year, defeated Loh Kean Yew 21-17, 21-14 in the men's singles in 37 minutes to give India a 2-0 lead Singapore reduced the deficit in the men's doubles.
Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty could not sustain the pressure after winning the first game 21-17 and lost the second game 19-21 and the rubber 12-21 in 53 minutes.
India, however, made sure of victory and a place in the final with former world No 1 Saina Nehwal clinching a 21-8, 21-15 win over Yeo Jia Min in the women's singles for an unassailable 3-1 lead.
The Malaysians were too strong for the English and were 1-0 through Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong in the men's doubles - delivering a 21-9, 21-11 win over Chris Langridge-Elli in 32 minutes.
Soniia Cheah stretched Malaysia's lead to 2-0 after a hard fought three-game battle against Chloe Birch - prevailing 21-17, 15-21, 21-18 in an energy sapping 67 minutes.
It was a smooth 21-18, 21-16 win for Lee Chong Wei over Rajiv Ouseph in the men's singles for the winning point in 47 minutes as Malaysia stayed on course to win the mixed team title for the fourth consecutive time.