India's Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy bowed out of the Japan Open Superseries with a 21-14, 15-21, 19-21 loss to Japan's Takuro Hoki and Sayaka Hirota in the mixed doubles semi-final on Saturday. The Indian duo's maiden Superseries semis appearance lasted for 40 minutes.
Chopra and Reddy started off on a good note and raced to an early 5-3 lead in the first game. However, their Japanese opponents didn’t give them any more easy chances as they marched forward to level the game at 9-9. The Indians, though, scored two quick points to take an 11-9 lead going into the changeover. After the interval, the Indian duo moved to a 15-10 lead as they scored three back-to-back points to create a five-point margin. The gap turned out to be an important one at the end as the home pair failed to score more than two points at one go and took the first game 21-14.
The Japanese duo resorted to a more defensive style in the second game to take a 3-1 lead before creating a six-point margin early on at 8-2. Trailing at 7-11 at the changeover, the Indian pair struggled to find any sort of momentum and the Japanese duo opened up a five-point lead at 15-10. Although the Indian pair tried to restore parity by scoring three consecutive points to cut the deficity, their opponents raced ahead soon after and closed the game with a 21-15 win, forcing the match to a decider.
In the final game, both the teams started off neck-and-neck, and traded points all the way to 9-9. From thereon, the Japanese duo upped the ante, breaking away to lead 11-9 at the changeover, and extending it to 13-9 by taking two more points. Chopra and Sikki attempted a comeback, but could not really stop their adversaries, trailing 18-19 at the death. Chopra and Sikki failed to win the next point, giving away two match points to their opponents, which the latter converted in their second attempt to progress to the final.
The Indian pair had won the Syed Modi International Badminton Championships at the beginning of the year but had failed to progress beyond the second round at any Superseries event before this tournament.
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