Uber Cup 2014: India assured of a historic bronze medal after thumping Indonesia 3-0
After a historic win against Indonesia in the quarterfinals, the Indian women’s team is assured of a bronze medal at the Uber Cup.
The major scriptwriters of this feat were the highest ranked singles players in Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu, along with the doubles pairing of Ashwini Ponappa and Jwala Gutta.
The quarterfinal clash against the Indonesian women wasn't an easy task for the Indian girls. The first match of any tie is very crucial and Saina Nehwal was up against world number 23 Lindaweni Fanetri in the opener.
In the beginning, the Hyderabadi missed easy shots to hand a big lead to the Indonesian. With Fanetri leading 14-7, it appeared that nerves would deprive India of it’s first point. However, a streak of 5 consecutive points for Saina, and some attacking badminton towards the forehand of Fanetri, helped Saina draw level at 15-15.
The Indian number 1 continued to attack and secured a come-from-behind win in the first game 21-17. In the second game, Saina did not give any opportunity to the Indonesian to come back into the match and wrapped up the game 21-10.
Sindhu’s roller coaster match
The second match of the tie saw P.V.Sindhu face world number 24 Bellaetrix Manuputty. In the first game, Sindhu maintained a close lead till the end to win 21-16. But the Indonesian number 2 bounced back to capture the second game 21-10.
The final game was a roller-coaster ride as the match headed past the one hour mark. With both players fighting tooth and neck, the rallies got longer heading into the final few points.
The match was evenly poised at 19-19, when the Indonesian got her first match point, only for Sindhu to deny her. What followed was high intensity long rallies with several missed chances to convert match points from both players. In the end, Sindhu managed to hold her nerve, and won the match 21-16,10-21,25-23 to give India the second point in the tie.
Clinical Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa
The doubles encounter saw Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta defeating world number 9 Greysia Polii and Nitya Maheshwari 21-18, 21-18. The defending Commonwealth Games gold medalists played attacking badminton and put pressure on their opponents to win key points.
The only moment when it felt that they would choke was when the Indonesian pair saved multiple match points in the second game. But in the end, buoyed by a vociferous crowd, the Indian pair secured a historic win over Indonesia.
What lies ahead?
The path towards the title only gets tougher as India faces Japan in the semifinals. First and foremost, India will have to perform well in the singles rubbers as the Japanese boast of the World number 4 and 5 doubles teams.
Saina Nehwal would play world number 12 Minatsu Mitani while Sindhu would play world number 13 Sayaka Takahashi. If things go according to rankings, Saina and Sindhu, both ranked above their rivals, should win their respective ties and hope that Jwala and Ashwini replicate their world championship bronze medal winning form to give India the tie.
In case India loses any of the first two singles, it would be up to P.C. Thulasi to give India the crucial point, when she would probably face world number 84 Akane Yamaguchi in the third singles match.
Here’s wishing all the best to the Indian women as they try to create history in Delhi.