Defending champions Japan knocked India out of the BWF Uber Cup at the Ceres Arena in Aarhus, Denmark on Thursday. The young Indian women’s badminton team proved to be no match for the holders and lost their quarter-finals 0-3.
Competing without top stars like PV Sindhu and hampered by the injury-forced ouster of Saina Nehwal, the Indian eves were hammered by their Japanese opponents.
In the first match of the tie, Malvika Bansod lost 12-21, 17-21 to world No. 5 Akane Yamaguchi. Southpaw Malvika played well in patches but could not threaten the diminutive Yamaguchi.
Twenty-year-old Malvika was completely outclassed by former world No. 1 Yamaguchi in the first game. However, Malvika did better in the next game but did not have the firepower to challenge the 24-year-old Japanese, who won in 34 minutes. It was a good learning experience for world No. 104 Mavlika against an established Japanese star, ranked fifth in the world.
The pair of Tanisha Crasto and Rutaparna Panda then suffered their only loss of the tournament, falling 8-21, 10-21 to Yuki Fukushima and Mayu Matsumoto. Former top-ranked doubles players Fukushima and Matsumoto completed the victory in 41 minutes.
With 0-2 down in the tie, the onus was on Aditi Bhatt to deliver and help India stay alive with the win. However, 18-year-old Aditi Bhatt lost the third match 16-21, 7-21 to world No. 15 Sayaka Takahashi in just 29 minutes.
Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand Pullela (women's doubles rank 2) and Tasnim Mir (women's singles rank 3) were scheduled to play later but could not get a chance because of the 3-0 result.
It was an encouraging performance from a young Indian team, especially after Saina Nehwal was injured in the first group match against Spain. The London Olympics bronze medallist took no further part in the Uber Cup. In the previous edition of the Uber Cup, India failed to reach the quarters in 2018.
India to face Denmark in Thomas Cup quarters on Friday
The Indian men’s team finished second in Group C of the Thomas Cup after losing 1-4 to China in their final group tie on Thursday. India will now take on hosts Denmark in the quarter-finals on Friday evening.
Uber Cup Results (Quarter-final)
India lost to Japan 0-3
Women’s singles 1
Malvika Bansod lost to Akane Ymaguchi 12-21, 17-21 (34 minutes)
Women’s doubles 1
Tanisha Crasto-Rutaparna Panda lost to Yuki Fukushima-Mayu Matsumoto 8-21, 10-21 (41 minutes)
Women’s singles 2
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Aditi Bhatt lost to Sayaka Takahashi 16-21, 7-21 (29 minutes).