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Badminton Asia Team Championships 2018: Flying start for Indian men, women labour to a win

FEATURED COLUMNIST
News
873   //    07 Feb 2018, 01:10 IST

E-Plus Badminton Asia Team Championships 2018
PV Sindhu (right) in action at the Badminton Asia Team Championships 2018 in Alor Setar on Tuesday

Indian men and women started their campaigns in contrasting style at the Badminton Asia Team Championships 2018 held at the Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium in Alor Setar, Malaysia on Tuesday. While the men thumped Philippines 5-0 in their Group D clash, the women battled for five hours to edge Hong Kong 3-2 in Group W.

The men were in top form and won all their matches without conceding any game. None of the matches even lasted more than half an hour.

World No. 5 Kidambi Srikanth gave his team a winning start with a 21-11, 21-12 win over the 426th ranked Ros Leonard Pedrosa in just 28 minutes. Indian national men's doubles champions Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy then beat Carlos Antonie Cayanan and Philip Joper Escueta 21-15, 21-13.

Singapore Open Superseries champion B Sai Praneeth was the fastest Indian to win on Day 1 and he needed just 23 minutes to prevail over Arthur Samuel Salvado 21-6, 21-10. The men’s doubles pair of Arjun MR and Shlok Ramchandran then beat Peter Gabriel Magnaye and Alvin Morada 21-18, 21-17.

In the final match of the tie, Syed Modi International winner Sameer Verma got the better of Lanz Ralf Zafra 21-15, 21-12.

The Indian men are now placed second in the four-team Group D right after Indonesia. Their next match is against Maldives on Wednesday.

Sindhu gives India double win

The women, led by PV Sindhu, had a far tougher time on court and had to claw their way back for a win. In the absence of Saina Nehwal, the onus was on the rising stars and the doubles pairs to grab the win for India.

It was the World No. 4 Sindhu, who made a flying start for her team as she defeated the 34th ranked Yip Pui Yin 21-12, 21-18 in 33 minutes.

India struggled since then as they squandered quite a few opportunities to close out matches. Ashwini Ponnappa and Prajakta Sawant were two points away from a win but failed to raise their level and went down 22-20, 20-22, 10-21 in 52 minutes to the pair of NG Wing Yung and Yeung Nga Ting.

20-year-old Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli had a grand chance of giving India the lead when she held a match point against the 370th ranked Cheung Ying Mei. But the lower-ranked shuttler showed tremendous guts and resilience to eke out a 21-19, 18-21, 22-20 win in 1 hour 6 minutes.

Sindhu then took the court again in the second doubles match alongside N Sikki Reddy. The two dropped a game but came back for a 21-15, 15-21, 21-14 victory.

It was then left to the Tata Open champion Ruthvika Shivani Gadde to get the win for India. The World No. 79 did not have the best of starts and at one point of time, a win looked improbable as Gadde trailed 16-21, 4-7.

She then wrested away the momentum and led 14-11 before conceding the lead again to fall 14-15 behind. Gadde then showed nerves of steel to even the score at 16-16 and afterwards succeeded in posting a 16-21, 21-16, 21-13 win over the feisty World No. 991 Yeung Sum Yee.

India now lead the three-team Group W with the formidable Japan yet to open their account. Their next match is against Japan on Thursday.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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