Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand lose in All England semifinal but take away plenty of positives

Treesa Jolly (R) and Gayatri Gopichand Pullela compete in the women's doubles semifinal against Baek Ha Na and Lee So Hee at the All England Badminton Championships on Saturday. Shi Tang/Getty Images

Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand's terrific run at the All England Open Championship came to an end in the semi-final once again, with a lesson in defence but plenty of positives. The only Indians to go past the second round, the women's doubles pair went down 10-21, 10-21 to Baek HaNa and Lee SoHee in 46-minutes on Saturday.

While this match was largely one-sided, their loss, as much as the three encouraging wins before this, will prove to be an important learning curve for the youngsters.

The in-form pair from South Korea smartly targeted the Indians' all-out attacking game, which is usually a strength. Yet, when it didn't work against the defensive masterclass on the other side, panic set in and forced a flurry of easy errors that hastened the loss. Baek and Lee kept up the relentless pressure by retrieving everything thrown at them, which meant the Indians more often than not tried to end points unsuccessfully.

It's something they acknowledged after the game. "We learnt a lot from this match. The difference was they didn't leave a shuttle and we did panic a little bit," Gayatri said after the match.

Treesa added: "When we played against them, their defence was good, it was better than yesterday. We were just panicking and didn't play well, we just kept attacking."

Baek and Lee had prevailed in a marathon of lengthy rallies against eighth seeds Apriyani Rahayu and Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti in the quarterfinal a day before but changed tack to play out quick points while starting the semifinals. They were fast off the blocks and maintained their speed to dominate most of the game. They raced to a 4-0 lead and extended the margin to 5-11 at the interval after several fast-paced rallies, pushing their opponents all over while covering their side completely.

The rallies gradually grew longer, with a particularly brilliant 40-shot rally which saw Gayatri's soft hands at the net stand out. The Indians played a couple of good points to reduce the margin to 9-13 but they would win only one more point in the game as a late Koreans blitz tested their reaction time and movement.

Coach Mathias Boe and G Arun Vishnu stressed the importance of defence at the change of ends, but it didn't change much as the Koreans continued to make the Indians either rush or overhit their shots.

They had a massive 11-2 lead heading into the mid-game interval in the second game and the nerves and pressure were evident in Treesa and Gayatri's body language. They stemmed the one- sided traffic finally with a gorgeous net kill from Gayatri and an angled winner from Treesa that ought to have given them some confidence.

But the margin was too big at that point and as their opponents started engaging in long, lifting rallies and giving up some easy points, the Indians reached double digits. It was never going to be enough however, and they converted the first of their 10 match points after another unforced error from the Indians.

Despite the loss, there is plenty to take home for the Indian youngsters. This is only their second full season on the tour and they've already made the Top 20. Last year, they reached the semis after being promoted from the reserves and a walkover, but this year they were one of the form pairs and beat two Top-10 opponents.

A match like this will increase their focus on balancing defence with their aggressive game, always a valuable trait in women's doubles. It'll also help practise patience under pressure, something that can only be learned on the match court. This is the lens with which they should look back at this week. "We played against some good players, the confidence was there. So we are looking forward to the next tournaments. We have a lot more to learn. We will come back stronger," Treesa said.

Up next for them is the Swiss Open and Madrid Masters, both Super 300 events on the European leg of the tour. They will hope to continue their good run of form there, even as their unbeaten run from February (Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championship and Nationals) came to an end.