New Delhi: World number 53 Anand Pawar's dream run at the India Open 2013 ended in the semi-finals with a defeat at the hands of sixth seed Kenichi Tago of Japan 21-16, 21-11 in 43 minutes at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here on Saturday.
Pawar, who beat world number 19 Takuma Ueda and third seed Yun Hu en route to to his best ever career result at the Super series put up a good fight against the Japanese but the sixth seed countered well by beating the Indian.
The unseeded Indian started off well against the Japanese looking at ease connecting the smashes well going neck-and-neck with his opponent early on. There was a short interruption at 9-8 with the Japanese appealing against the line call. From there on Pawar took a 4-point lead only to squander it in the middle hitting consecutive points to the net with Tago racing to a 18-12 lead.The Indian rallied back with a good net game. slowing down the game taking control of the rallies inducing errors from the Japanese. But, Tago was able to fend off the challenge taking the first game 21-16 in 22 minutes.
In the second,an erratic net game by the Indian helped the Japanese shuttler surge ahead with a 9-4 lead. The Mumbaikar then slowed down the game again with long rallies but Tago played cleverly this time negating Pawar's slow game trying to finish off the points early. The Japanese stuck to his basics and displayed good defensive skills to counter the home favourite widening the gap winning six points on the trot. Pawar kept himself in the hunt with a couple of cross court smashes but Tago held his nerve taking the game at 21-11 in 23 minutes to book a place in the finals on Sunday.
Reflecting on the game, Pawar said: "He (Tago) played a clever game. My game plan was to get up and pushing pace from the back and and move forward, but the shuttle seemed to be a bit slow, so it was difficult to play as compared to other two days. In the first 11 points I did not realise that the conditions were different and once I realised, it was too late. I had to figure out what the condition were in the first 5-6 points. I did not do that."
Pawar started off well but let off some easy points in the first game. "Two or three quick points I gave way at 13-12. The momentum shifted and he played couple of good points to which I had no answer. I think if I had got the first game, I could have conserved some energy and let off second to fight in the third, I think the first game was crucial."
"Tactically, I did not stick to my plan, I went in thinking the conditions were the same but that was not the case, I should have done my homework before the game," Pawar added.