Johor Bahru: India’s Valiyaveetil Diju and Jwala Gutta scored a sensational 21-19, 21-11 win over Poland’s Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Kostiuczyk to storm into the mixed doubles final of the World Super Series Masters Finals badminton at the Johor Bahru City Stadium on Saturday.
However, top-seeded Indian Saina Nehwal went down 18-21, 18-21 to Juliane Schenk of Germany in the women’s singles semifinals.
It was a strong comeback from world No 7 Jwala and Diju who had lost their opening Group match.
The Indians will take on World No. 4 and top seeds Joachim Fischer Nielsen-Christina Pedersen of Denmark in the final Sunday. The Danish combination went past England’s Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg 21-13, 21-17.
Jwala and Diju quickly got the measure of their opponents and kept up the pressure. Both teams started off erratically with the match riddled with a stream of unforced errors. However, the Indians didn’t take long to settle down and showed great composure to wrap up the tie in 30 minutes.
"Nobody expected us to come this far in the tournament, so it feels great to be here," said Jwala.
"We had some good performances this year and we want to finish the year on a high by winning the title," she added.
Jwala and Diju have had a remarkable year in which they claimed their biggest career victory at the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix Gold in August. Before that they made it to the quarterfinals of the World Badminton Championship in Hyderabad.
The Indian pair has been making waves on the international scene since its comeback in early 2008, after a year’s break.
Jwala said they were not in the best of form for the tournament.
"We were skeptical of reaching the last four as I have not been training for the past few weeks due to a viral infection. I was forced to rest and I wasn’t sure of coping with the schedule. But as the tournament progressed, our performance also improved and we have nothing to lose in the final."
It was not a good day for Saina though.
Schenk, ninth in the world rankings, a rung lower than Saina, was more composed and never allowed the Indian to play her attacking game.
After losing the first game, Saina tried her best to keep pace with Schenk but a slew of unforced errors from her put the the German ahead 11-8. Schenk then consolidated the lead to 18-12. Saina saved three match points but a close line call ended her challenge.
Schenk will meet Malaysian Wong Mew Choo in the final.
Wong Mew Choo gave the home fans something to cheer when she beat Holland’s Yao Jie 21-10, 21-10.