India’s women’s singles campaign at the Syed Modi International badminton tournament came to an end in the semi-finals on Saturday as Rituparna Das lost to Phittayaporn Chaiwan 24-22, 21-15 in Lucknow.
With only two Indians making it to the weekend action (Sourabh Verma being the other), first to take the court was Das, the 23-year-old former national champion. She was taking on 18-year-old Chaiwan from Thailand, ranked 40th in the world and 125 places above her. But the ranking differential was not evident on the day, given Das has a career-best rank of 44 herself.
It was the Thailand shuttler who made the stronger start, moving into a 6-1 lead in the opening game. But egged on from cheers from the Lucknow crowd, Das fought back. From trailing 1-6 and 3-7, she made it 9-9 in the opener. Chaiwan still held the edge going into the mid-game interval but she knew Das was up for the fight.
Das dictated terms after the break, going up 14-11 with six points on the trot. With both players mixing up good rallies with unforced errors, the game went to the wire. Das had to save three game points but Chaiwan eventually converted her fourth to clinch the opener 24-22.
The second game was also off to a tight start but Das was the one making the early moves. The Indian first took a 6-3 lead and then had a 11-9 advantage at the break. She was playing the net-game well, showing great hands in rallies and moved ahead 15-12. But that is when the errors started creeping in again.
Chaiwan upped the ante to win nine points on the trot from there on to close the match out in straight games.
Das, who has had her troubles with injury, had her chances to pull off an upset and enter the final at the Super 300 tournament, but was eventually done in by her own unforced errors.
Sourabh Verma (rank 36) will be in action later in the day, where he will take on unseeded Heo Kwang Hee (rank 44) in the semi-final. Sourabh has four Super 100 titles to his name and this will be a good chance for him to earn the first Super 300 title of his career.