India's Jwala Gutta and Valiyaveetil Diju claimed their biggest career victory Sunday when they defeated Indonesian Hendra Aprida Gunawan and Vita Marissa
23-21, 21-18 to win the mixed doubles title at the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix Gold badminton.
The World No.7 Indian pair, seeded third in the tournament, survived a tough battle against the Indonesians en route to their maiden Grand Prix Gold title, also the first by any Indian combination. The semi-final was also an intensely fought contest, where Diju and Gutta outlasted Malaysians Liu Ying Goh and Peng Soon Chan 21-11, 17-21, 24-22.
Gutta and Diju had lost to both pairs earlier, but made it even this time.
'It took us some time to believe that we have actually won the tournament,' an estatic Gutta told IANS.
'The final was a close match but we were more patient. The Indonesians were playing very well and it was a quality fare churned out by both the teams. We were trailing 9-13 and then 12-16 in the second game and there were long rallies in between. We kept our focus and backed ourselves to win the match.'
'We got our combination going throughout the tournament. There were moments when the chips were down, but we fought back. The semi-final too was a close affair. We had lost to them in Asian Badminton Championships this year, but we were better prepared this time,' she said.
The victory came as a advanced birthday gift for Jwala, who turns 26 Sept 7.
'It (victory) has come at the right time for me, just a week before my birthday. Back home my parents are very excited and I am happy for them.'
The Indian pair has been making waves on the international scene since its come-back in early 2008, after a year's break.
Their graph has been steadily rising after some stupendous performance. They won the Bitburger Open and Bulgarian Open last year and reached the final of the Indian Open Grand Prix Gold in March.
The entered the top-10 in rankings and made it to the quarterfinals of the World Badminton Championship in Hyderabad earlier this month.
'It has all happened very fast for us. It has been a successful journey so far, but we are far from reaching our goals. I would not say that we have peaked in our career. Our aim is much higher and we are taking one step at a time,' Gutta said.
'It's a difficult job to sustain your ranking at the higher level. You have to be more consistent. But we are not thinking about the rankings or winning everytime we play in a tournament. We are taking one game at a time and enjoying it. It's working for us.'