Badminton Asia Team Championships 2018: Indian men crash out with loss to China in quarter-finals
Kidambi Srikanth pulled off a comeback win but it was not enough as India went down to China 1-3 in the quarter-finals of the Badminton Asia Team Championships 2018 held at the Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium in Alor Setar, Malaysia on Friday.
China did not have their top stars and their squad comprised second-string players. But despite their lack of experience, the youngsters did well to deny India a win.
The World No. 5, who has been struggling since the beginning of the new season, did not have the best of starts against the seventh ranked Shi Yuqi, who won the India Open title last Sunday. The young Chinese looked set to continue his irrepressible form and took a one-game lead over the Indian, whom he beat in their last encounter at the Dubai World Superseries Finals in December.
Srikanth did manage to weather the storm and eke out a tightly-contested second game and then ran away in the decider to register a 14-21, 21-16, 21-7 win in 52 minutes.
A day after beating the much-fancied Indonesian men’s doubles pair, the India No. 1 combine of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty failed to repeat their heroics. The duo, who broke into the top 25 this week, could not overcome the 41st ranked He Jiting and Tan Qiang and went down 17-21, 18-21.
Singapore Open Superseries winner B Sai Praneeth and World No. 26 Qiao Bin then engaged themselves in a marathon duel that lasted 1 hour 8 minutes. The Chinese got outclassed by Sai in the first game but regrouped to stun the Indian 9-21, 21-11, 21-17. The result sent China 2-1 up over India.
The pressure was then on the Indian national men’s doubles champions Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy to try and even the tie score.
Even though the World No. 30 pair began in a promising fashion against the 51st ranked Han Chengkai and Zhou Haodong, they could not continue the momentum and succumbed to a 21-14, 19-21, 14-21 defeat in 53 minutes.
The inconsequential singles rubber between Sameer Verma and Zhao Junpeng was not played.
Despite the setback, India are already guaranteed a spot at the Thomas Cup to be held in Bangkok in May.
Earlier in the day, the women too exited in the quarter-final stage of this competition after a 1-3 loss to Indonesia. PV Sindhu brought the sole victory for her team. India are still very much in contention for a berth at the Uber Cup, irrespective of this result.