India's campaign in the Badminton Asian Mixed Team Championship ended with a 2-3 loss to China in the semifinals, but not before the doubles teams -- men's and mixed -- came up with inspired performances to give their opponents a tough time on Saturday.
Though India lost the keenly contested match, they will return home with a first-ever medal -- a bronze -- from the continental tournament, as both losing semifinalists are awarded medals.
Down 0-2 after HS Prannoy had lost the opening match to Lei Lan Xi 13-21, 15-21 and two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu had suffered a 9-21, 21-16, 18-21 defeat at the hands of Gao Fang Jie, the doubles teams gave a far better performance to bring India back on level terms (2-2).
Prannoy was no match for the 2016 world junior champion in mixed team event, losing in just 45 minutes, while Sindhu, who is gradually getting back to full fitness after a heel injury that kept her out for five months, gave a tough fight to her 24-year-old opponent before losing the match in one hour and 10 minutes.
The men's doubles pair of Dhruv Kapila and Chirag Shetty then overcame Ji Ting and Zhou Hao Dong 21-19, 21-19 and the women's doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand defeated Liu Sheng Shu and Tan Ning 21-18 13-21 21-19 to level the scores at 2-2.
All eyes were on the mixed doubles pair of Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto to guide India into the final but Jiang Zhen Bang and Wei Ya Xin proved too strong in the decider, winning 21-17, 21-13 in just 34 minutes.
Earlier on Friday, India had staged a remarkable comeback to down Hong Kong 3-2 and qualify for the semifinals and ensure a first-ever medal in the continental tournament.