Despite losing the match yesterday, India’s both men’s and women's teams have qualified for the quarterfinals of the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Malaysia. The Indian women finished second in Group W to qualify for the knock-out while Indian men’s had already qualified for the same stage.
Playing the last tie of the group stage against Japan, PV Sindhu took the court first for the Indian women's team and kept her dominance over world No.2 Akane Yamaguchi going as she registered a 21-19, 21-15 win in 36 minutes over her Japanese opponent. With this win, Sindhu now enjoys a 5-3 head-to-head record against Yamaguchi.
However, her teammates failed to give her enough support as Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli was easily taken down by world No.13 Sayaka Sato, who secured an emphatic victory by a margin of 21-12, 21-10 to help Japan draw level. While the hopes were pinned on doubles specialist Ashwini Ponnappa, who was playing the singles tie, to give India the lead, she was tamed 14-21, 12-21 by world No.16 Aya Ohori in the third singles match to concede the lead to Japan.
The responsibility was on the pair of Sanyogita Ghorpade and Prajakta Sawant to restore parity for the Indian women's team, but they failed to do so by losing 17-21, 17-21 to Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto in the first doubles match to give the Japanese team an unassailable 3-1 lead in the tie. The fortunes followed the same path in the last match of the day as well as the pair of Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost 18-21, 18-21 to Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi to make sure that Japan ended the group stage as the No.1 team.
The result was no different for the Indian men’s side as well as they suffered their first defeat in the tournament after going down 2-3 against Indonesia on Thursday. World No 4 Kidambi Srikanth took the court first by playing against 13th-ranked Jonathan Christie in the first singles match but was beaten in straight games 17-21, 17-21 in just 35 minutes.
In the second game of the tie, the doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty brought India level by defeating Mohammad Ahsan and World No 1 Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 18-21, 21-18, 24-22 in 53 minutes. B Sai Praneeth gave the team the crucial lead in the tie by stunning the World No 9 Anthony Ginting 21-18, 21-19 in 44 minutes to record a crucial win.
The doubles duo of MR Arjun and Shlok Ramchandran stood a chance to seal the tie for India but they failed to do so after going down in three games to the Indonesian pair of Angga Pratama and Rian Agung Saputro 14-21, 21-16, 21-12 in 48 minutes.
The final match of the tie was going to decide the fate of the Indian team in the tie in which doubles specialist B Sumeeth Reddy was picked to play the singles match against World No 39 Ihsan Maulana Mustofa and the result was inevitable as