Badminton Asia Team Championships 2018: Indian men and women enter quarterfinals
Despite losing their last league matches, both teams qualified for the knockout stages.
The Indian men's and women's teams lost their respective last league matches on day three of the Badminton Asia Team Championships 2018 held at Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium in Alor Setar, Malaysia. While the women lost to Japan 1-4, the men’s team lost a fighting tie to Indonesia 2-3. However, by virtue of their earlier triumphs in the league stages, both the Indian men's and women's teams entered the quarterfinals of their respective events.
In the women’s section, India took on Japan in Group W. The first match of the tie saw World Championship silver medallist, PV Sindhu playing against Akane Yamaguchi. Sindhu took the charge right from the start taking an 11-6 lead at the interval. After the interval, the Japanese made a strong comeback and equaled the score at 13-13. However, Sindhu held her nerves and kept on the lead until she won the set 21-19.
In the second game, Sindhu took an early 5-0 lead. Yamaguchi made a comeback again and equaled the score at 7-7. The Indian played aggressive badminton to take an 11-9 lead at the interval. After the interval, Sindhu continued her aggression and placement to win the set 21-15 which also gave a 1-0 lead to India.
The next four matches saw Japan dominating the Indians. Krishna Kudaravalli lost to Sato in two straight sets 12-21,12-21 giving a very little fight. In the third match, Ashwini Ponnappa started the first game on a good note giving a tough fight to World number 16th Ohori to reach 9-9 scoreline. From then on, it was a complete domination by Japanese player who won the first set 21-14. In the second game, Ohori completely dominated and won the set 21-12 easily to give Japan a 2-1 lead in the tie.
In the doubles, the Indian pair of Prajakta Sawant and Sanygoita Ghorpade lost to Japanese pair of Tanaka/Yonemoto in two straight games. The Indian pair gave a reasonable fight in both games but lost narrowly scoring reading 17-21, 17-21 to give Japan a 3-1 lead.
The fifth match saw second Indian pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy taking on the top pair of Japan, Matasumo, and Takahashi. This was also a close fight match from the start but the experienced Japanese pair used their skills to win the first game 18-21. In the second game, the Indian pair had an 11-7 lead to start with, but Matasumo and Takahashi rallied back to level the scoreline at 18-18 and finally won it 21-18.
Indian women will take on Indonesia in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Christie shocks Srikanth
In the men’s section, India took on Indonesia. India’s top male player Kidambi Srikanth lost to Jonatan Christie in two straight sets by 17-21, 17-21. It was a shock for the Indian team to see World number 5 lose too much lower ranked player.
In the second match, RankiReddy and Chirag Shetty won their match against Mohammad Ahsan and Sukamujio in three grueling games. The Indonesian pair took the first game 21-18; but the Indian pair came back strongly to win the next two sets 21-18, 24-22 to level tie at 1-1.
In the third match, Sai Praneeth won his match against Ginting in the men’s singles in two straight sets. The Singapore winner produced a dominating display winning it 21-18, 21-19 to give India 2-1 lead.
Arjun MR and Shlok Ramchandran lost to Pratama and Sapturo in three games in the 4th match. The Indian pair won the first game 21-14. In the next two games, Pratama and Sapturo dominated Indians winning it 21-16, 21-12 easily to level the tie 2-2.
In the final game, Sumeeth Reddy took on Maulana Mustofa. Mustofa won the game in two straight sets of 21-12 and 21-7 with very little resistance from Sumeeth to give Indonesia a 3-2 win.
Indian men’s will face a tough task against China in the quarterfinals on Friday.