Led by World No.9 Kidambi Srikanth, India eased past a hapless Singapore side 5-0 to enter the quarters of the men’s team event in the Badminton Asia Team Championships in the Gachibowli Stadium, Hyderabad on Wednesday. The hosts dropped only one game in the dominating performance in the opening group match.
In the first men’s singles match of the day, Kidambi Srikanth earned a hard-fought victory against World No.49 Derek Wong Zi Liang to start India on a good note. The World No.9, who recently won the top spot in the South Asian Games and the Syed Modi GPG, looked in full flow in the first game, winning it 21-16. However, the 23-year old suffered a shock in the second game with the Singapore shuttler producing a spirited comeback to level things up in the match by winning it 21-12. (Also Read: Kidambi Srikanth: raising India's Olympic hopes)
But when the Guntur lad returned for the third game to the same side of the court as he did in the first, he looked a different player with his movement and smashes as he pocketed it 21-13 to win the match in 49 minutes.
With a 1-0 lead, the Indian pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy headed to the men’s doubles match against Hee Yong Kai Terry and Loh Kean Hean and defeated them 21-15, 21-14 in just 27 minutes to put India into a 2-0 lead.
Ajay Jayaram finished off Singapore’s hopes of a comeback in the second men’s singles with a straight-games victory in the match against Kean Yew Loh. The Indian, who is ranked No.25 in the world, took less than half an hour to defeat the lower-ranked Singaporean shuttler 21-11, 21-18.
With all five matches being played in the group stages, the second men’s doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar beat Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Hendra Wijaya 21-14, 21-13, while HS Prannoy beat Ryan Ng Zin Rei 21-10, 21-12 in the third men’s singles match to give the hosts a comfortable 5-0 victory.
Singapore bid goodbye to their hopes of qualifying to the quarters after earning back-to-back defeats against China and India in two matches allowing the other two teams a place in the last eight.
The Indian men’s team will next face China tomorrow in the last group game to decide the winner of the group.
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