“We just had a plan,” said Dhruv Kapila.
Kapila and partner Arjun MR had just created one of the biggest upsets of the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2022 in taking down eighth seeds Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, but the Indians had their emotions in check.
The plan, according to Arjun, consisted of being racket-ready for a lot of defensive returns even off low-quality shots, so the priority was to just get the shuttle across.
“(Coach) Mathias told us it’s going to be a 50-50 situation throughout the match where there’s not going to be a quality stroke; everything is going to come into the racket. So if you’re not ready in the racket, you’re going to lose points. But then if you are ready, even if you play a bad quality stroke, it’s not going to be very aggressive from the other side. So our focus was to just to get the shuttle across (the net). So even if you don’t play a quality dip or something like that, they’re going to be defensive, because they are one of the best defensive pairs in the circuit. They always try to defend.
“The new shuttles are travelling faster. After one or two rallies it opens up. Even while smashing if you slice it a little bit, you can’t judge the pace of the shuttle. The conditions are slower.”
It was in the execution of those tactics that the Indians excelled, for Astrup and Rasmussen are among the steadiest pairs in the world. The Indians were sharp throughout, while as the match progressed the Danes looked off-key, failing to read the flick serves and making a few errors of judgement.
This was the Indians’ first win over a top 10 pair, and Kapila was struck by how well they’d executed the plan.
“I feel like if we have a great plan, if we know what we have to do, then I didn’t feel like we’re playing such a good pair. I was just ready. I was not thinking about who we were playing. We just had a plan.”