Indian paddler Sreeja Akula suffered a heartbreaking loss at the Commonwealth Games here as she went down to Australia’s Yangzi Liu 3-4 in a close bronze medal play-off. Sreeja went down 11-3 6-11 2-11 11-7 13-15 11-9 7-11 after staging a slew of comebacks in a match that lasted more than one and a half hour. The Hyderabad-born paddler made a confident start against Liu who appeared quite nervous and the former took advantage of that to race to a 11-3 win the first game.
The Australian bounced back with a more attacking intent and clinched the second game 11-6 to draw level.
Buoyed by her comeback in the second game, Liu continued from where she left off and did not allow the Indian to find any rhythm, and won the third game 11-2.
Sreeja, however, displayed the first signs of her never-say-die attitude and relied on her smart forehand plays to win the fourth game 11-7.
With the match all set at 2-2, it was Liu once again, who went ahead with a tight game and made it 15-13 in the fifth game.
The sixth game turned out to be a battle of wits between the two players but it was Sreeja, who showed her class by winning 11-9, after trailing 1-7 at one point.
The deciding set turned out to be something similar as Sreeja, despite trailing 1-6, made it 5-8.
But it was the Australian who had the last laugh and walked away with the bronze.
In the men’s events, the pair of Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan will face the English duo of Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford in the doubles gold medal match.
In the singles events, Sharath will take on Drinkall in the first semifinal later tonight while Sathiyan will cross swords with Pitchford in the second semifinal clash.
On the other hand, the mixed doubles gold medal match will see Sharath pairing up with Sreeja to square up against Malaysian pair of Javen Choong and Karen Lyne.
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