Jakarta: In a case of so near and yet so far, P.V. Sindhu and the duo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa suffered quarterfinal defeats in their respective categories to miss out on World Badminton Championship medals here on Friday.
Double World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu was looking to make a hat-trick after clinching the metal in the last two editions of the prestigious tournament. But a three-game loss in an hour and 22 minutes to South Korean eighth seed Sung Ji Hyun dashed any hopes of Sindhu winning a women's singles medal for the third consecutive year.
Hopes were high from the 20-year-old after she ousted reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China on Thursday but those expectations they fell flat as the Hyderabadi lost 17-21, 21-19, 16-21, her second consecutive defeat to Sung in five career meetings.
The first game was quite a close contest with neither shuttler giving the other any space to score points freely. It was neck-and-neck till 13-all, following which the eighth seed suddenly found legs to clinch the next seven points and reach gamepoint.
Sindhu saved as many as four gamepoints but it was too much to ask of her to save all seven as World No.8 Sung sealed the game on her fourth opportunity.
The second game was even tighter but Sindhu was much more aggressive than earlier, coming to the net more often. The 11th seed put her trademark cross court drops from the back of the court to good use as she slowly started increasing the lead and eventually clinched the second game and push the match into the decider.
Both the shuttlers had tired down by the time of the third game. But Sung took off well and made sure she kept the lead throughout the third game which worked in her favour as Sindhu had to continuously fight back.
But after a few minutes, fatigue set it and a couple of wrong line judgement errors completely turned the contest in favour of the South Korean. It was only a matter of time before Sindhu's shot went out of the court to hand Sung a victory.
Earlier, in the first match of the day, 13th seeds Jwala and Ashwini were looking to repeat their 2011 Worlds performance when they clinched the bronze, but several errors against the unseeded Japanese combine of Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonaoat cost them the match at the 9,000-seater Istora Senayan.
In the end, the 2010 Commonwealth Games women's doubles gold medallists lost 23-25, 14-21 in 46 minutes. This was the first match between the two pairs.
The World No.12 Indians did not have a great start as Naoka and Kurumi notched up many points due to several net errors from Jwala.
The mid-game break and some pep talk from the coaches must have helped the Indian girls as right after that, from 7-11 down, they pocketed the next eight points to go 15-11 up. However, the Japanese fought back to close the gap at 16-all.
It was a neck-and-neck game thereon as neither pair gave away more than a point to their opponent, but at 20-19 the unseeded pair had the advantage.
Jwala and Ashwini saved as many as four gamepoints, but the World No.17 combination from Japan won the game on their fifth attempt to take the lead.
The Indian pair looked down and out following their first game loss which helped Naoka and Kurumi to lead the second game from start and finish and win it quite easily to enter the semifinals and assure themselves of at least a bronze medal.
Saina Nehwal plays her women's singles quarterfinal later in the day.
A semi-final appearance assures a shuttler of at least a bronze medal in the tournament.