Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy’s strong run at the Japan Open came to an end on Saturday as the Indian mixed doubles pair bowed out in the semifinals. The duo went down to Japan’s Takuro Hoki and Sayaka Hitora 21-14, 15-21, 19-21, despite saving a match point towards the end.

Playing their first ever Superseries semi-finals, the pair started on a confident note. They maintained a healthy lead over their Japanese rivals throughout the opening game and won it 21-14.

However, Chopra and Reddy couldn’t start the second game well after winning the first and that put pressure on the pair. Hoki and Hitora, on the other hand, responded strongly after losing the first game and raced away to a big lead in the second game, a lead they didn’t give up winning it 21-15.

The rest of the match was the Indian pair playing catch up as the Japanese raced away with the tie, despite a much closer deciding game. While the third game saw the Indian duo apply themselves much better, it wasn’t enough to stop the home team. At one point, the decider was level at 8-8 but the Japanese pair countered the late surge to head into the mid-game interval leading 11-9 and powered their way to win it 21-19.

Even though it ended in a loss, Chopra and Reddy’s run in Japan is a positive sign. On Friday, they had become only the second Indian doubles pair to reach the semi-finals of a Superseries after registering a hard-fought win against South Korea’s Seung Jae Seo and former world No 1 Kim Ha Na.

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