Badminton Asia Championships 2018: Preview and schedule of India’s quarter-final matches, start time, telecast and how to watch online
Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy made it through to the quarter-finals of the Badminton Asia Championships 2018 on Thursday, making it a great campaign for the Indian contingent at Wuhan, China. But now the matches will become way tougher as the challenges get steeper.
With just one more win guaranteeing a medal, each and every one of the quarter-finalists will be hungry and aim to give their very best.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Nehwal benefitted from early upsets at this event, with both the current world champion Nozomi Okuhara and the former world champion Ratchanok Intanon getting cleared from her path. On paper, she has the easiest assignment out of the four Indians as she takes on the 15th ranked Lee Jang Mi in what would be their first ever encounter.
Third seeded Sindhu faces the seventh seed and former champion Sung Ji Hyun. Sindhu leads their head-to-head meetings 7-4 and has won their last face-off as well, but it certainly won’t be very easy for the Indian. The veteran Korean has tasted glory at this event before and is very apt at converting defence into attack. Sindhu has to be on guard right from the start if she wants to add to the bronze medal that she won in 2014.
HS Prannoy has rebounded well from his Commonwealth Games setback, where he missed the bronze medal by a whisker. But he has already played two long matches, which are likely to have left him drained.
Up next is the second seed Son Wan Ho, who has a penchant for playing long rallies. The Korean leads their head-to-head clashes 3-1 and would be the one going into this match with more confidence. If Prannoy can disrupt the World No. 2’s rhythm with an array of his own attacking shots, it will help him a lot.
All eyes on Srikanth vs Lee Chong Wei
Undoubtedly, the cynosure of all eyes will be the clash between Kidambi Srikanth and Lee Chong Wei. The two will be crossing swords for the third time in less than three weeks.
They split their two meetings at the Commonwealth Games, with the Indian winning the mixed team encounter and the Malaysian avenging that defeat in the individual final. It remains to be seen which version of Lee Chong Wei turns up in this match as a lot will depend on that.
At the team final, the 35-year-old Lee looked very much his age as he was a tad slow-footed and lacked sharpness. In contrast, Srikanth played one of his best matches, showing pinpoint accuracy on the jump smashes.
Less than a week later, Srikanth began the individual final in very much the same fashion as Lee kept on erring. But the legendary Malaysian got into the groove from the second game and put up a masterclass, pushing the Indian to the backfoot.
Going into this match, Srikanth is the fresher of the two. His second round opponent, Wong Wing Ki Vincent retired in the first game, making the World No. 5 spend just four minutes on the court.
Lee, on the other hand, had to battle hard for 61 minutes to subdue Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in three games.
Will that long match take its toll on the three-time Olympic silver medallist? Even if it does, he most definitely won’t be giving up tamely. He has won this event twice and knows very well how to raise his game under pressure.
Here is all the information you need to know
Tournament name: Badminton Asia Championships 2018
Category: Continental Individual Championships
Points on offer for winner: 9200
Venue: Wuhan Sports Centre, Wuhan, China
Date: Friday, April 27, 2018
Schedule of India’s matches:
(1) Kidambi Srikanth vs (5) Lee Chong Wei at 2.30pm
HS Prannoy vs (2) Son Wan Ho at approx 4.30-5pm
Saina Nehwal vs Lee Jang Mi at approx 3.10pm
(3) PV Sindhu vs (7) Sung Ji Hyun at approx 3.50-4.15pm
(All timings in Indian Standard Time)
Channel: Live telecast on D Sport
Live Streaming: SmashNation Channel on Youtube
Live Updates: On Sportskeeda