Uber Cup 2016: India settle for bronze after losing to China
India’s Uber Cup hopes came to an unwanted conclusion today, following the women’s team’s woeful ouster by the imperious Chinese brigade in the semi-finals of the tournament. With the men’s team already eliminated from the group stage of the 29th Thomas Cup being held at the Kunshan Sports Center Stadium in Jiangsu, this marks the end of the Indian campaign at the 2016 Thomas & Uber Cup.
A lot was at stake in the first clash of the day when Saina Nehwal took on her long-time rival Li Xuerui to try and fetch the advantage for India. The battled raged for an electrifying 64 minutes at the end of which the Chinese shuttler emerged victorious with a score of 21-15 12-21 21-17. With this, Xuerui stretched her unbeaten streak against Nehwal to a dominant count of eight.
Next, it was Pusarla Venkata Sindhu’s turn to face Wang Shixian who has a superior ranking to hers by the BWF. The match-up, still, was quite neck and neck due to their fairly even head-to-head prior record. Shixian started well, putting the pressure on the Indian and cruising to 21-13 in the first game.
The second game, however, as it unfolded, saw Sindhu dart away right from the outset to achieve a 10-point lead at 18-8. Then it turned out to be the story of an extraordinary comeback by the World No. 6 who captured 8 consecutive points before forcing a tie-break she went on to win 23-21.
Trailing 0-2, it was up to the reshuffled pair of Jwala Gutta and N Sikki Reddy to contest the doubles pair of Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei, ranked 4 in the world, to keep India in contention. The match brought a disastrous result for India as the Chinese duo wrapped things up within 25 minutes with the agonizing score of 21-6 in successive games to surge ahead to the final round of the championship.