Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly upset last year's Worlds silver medalists, Korean second seeds Lee Sohee and Shing Seungchan in the 2022 All England Championships, defeating them 14-21 22-20 21-15 . They now find themselves in the All England semifinals, becoming the first Indian pair to do so.
Here's all you need to know about them:
So who is this pair?
Gayatri, aged 19, daughter of former All England champion Pullela Gopichand, and Treesa, aged 18, whose father is a former physical education teacher, came together as a pair only a year ago. Gayatri used to dabble in both singles and doubles before she chose her calling. She was part of the Indian women's team that won gold at the South Asian Games in 2019 and brought home a silver in the singles event. Gayatri didn't enjoy the intense physical rigors of singles as much and her quick hands and anticipation at the net were perfect gifts for doubles. It wasn't a particularly tough decision for her. She was looking for a partner who could play an attacking game from the back-court and Treesa fit the type perfectly. They're ranked 46 in the world today, the second-highest Indian women's doubles pair after Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy.
What have they achieved?
They impressed at last year's Uber Cup and in their maiden season on the senior circuit, the rookies won a Super 100 title in Odisha this year and finished runners-up at the Syed Modi in January. While in Mulheim last week for the German Open, they earned a late-call up to the All England Championships. This week they had already gone past their Indonesian idols, Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu after the Olympic champions withdrew in the second game during their second-round match.
What makes them so good?
Treesa rains steep smashes from the back of the court while Gayatri is the quick thinker and snappy interceptor at the net. The division of labour is neat and their brute, unrelenting attacks have seen opponents wilting. Their ability to stay in the rallies and defend well even when under the pump without leaking too many points like they admirably did against the Olympic champions in the second round is what's carried them so far.
What they said
Tressa: We don't have any pressure... That's the main thing. We knew they (Korean opponents) were good attacking players but we didn't plan much.
Gayatri: After we lost the first game and were down 18-20 in the second, we thought we have to fight. We just took one point at a time after that. There were so many Indians cheering us from the stands. It felt special. We know there are expectations now and want to win for our country.
A HUGE upset in the quarter finals!!
The young pair of Jolly & Pullela come from a set down to WIN against the world number 2s ������������
- �� Yonex All England Badminton Championships �� (@YonexAllEngland) March 18, 2022
What's next for them?
They next play one half of a world No 13 Chinese pair Zheng Yu and Zhang Shu Xian in the semifinals. What makes the Indians a dangerous pair for any pedigreed opponent is their fearless approach and ability to turn around unfavorable situations soon enough, like they did on Friday - saving two match points to win the second game and force a decider. They're taking quick, giant strides and should see themselves as India's top women's doubles pair in time.