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Badminton Asia Team C’ships: Srikanth shines as India defeat China

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Image Courtesy: © Facebook - Kidambi Srikanth

Badminton Asia Team C’ships: Srikanth shines as India defeat China

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Debarshee Mitra

02/18/2016

World No.9 Kidambi Srikanth defeated his arch-nemesis Tian Houwei, who is ranked No.8 in the world, in straight games as Indian men’s team defeated China 3-2 to top Group MA in the of the men’s team event in the Badminton Asia Team Championships at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday.

The first encounter of the day was the men’s singles match up between Kidambi Srikanth and Tian Houwei. Houwei had a 5-0 head to head record against the Indian before the match and expected a much tougher fight this time around with Srikanth in sizzling form winning two back-to-back titles at the South Asian Games and at the Syed Modi GPG. But it turned out to be a cakewalk for the Indian ace with Srikanth racing to a straight-games victory.

The Guntur lad looked in full flow in the contest dominating the smashes and the net play to outclass Houwei in the first game. Srikanth led the game from the start to the finish giving Houwei no chance and won it 21-11. The Chinese shuttler showed more spirit in the second game to stop the Indian from strolling to victory after going into the break with an 11-9 lead. But Srikanth dominated the game after the break and clinched the second game 21-17 to finish the match in just 33 minutes.

Men’s doubles pairs were the weakest links in India’s armoury, and it proved right once again as Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy went down 20-22, 11-21 to Li Junhui and Qiu Zihan, while Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar were defeated by Wang Yilv and Zhang Wen 10-21, 18-21.

But in men’s singles, World No.25 Ajay Jayaram and World No.27 HS Prannoy registered hard-earned victories against their Chinese opponents to give India a 3-2 victory.

Ajay Jayaram defeated World No.11 Wang Zhengming 22-20, 15-21, 21-18 in a closely-fought encounter in the second men’s singles. The Chinese shuttler was leading 14-10 at one point in the first game before Jayaram clawed his way back into the game by winning four consecutive points to level the points and then matched his opponent point for point before winning it 22-20. But the second game turned out to be a totally different contest with Wang looking more confident with his play and won it 21-15. The third game also proved to be a nail-biter of a contest with both players matching each other shot for shot from the start to the finish. With both players tied at 18-18, Jayaram added three consecutive points to win the third and the final game 21-18.

With the scores tied at 2-2, HS Prannoy took on Shi Yuqi in the third men’s singles tie and easily won it 21-14, 21-10 with the 19-year old youngster proving no match for the Indian. Apart from a brief period in the first game, which saw Yuqi taking an 8-5 lead, Prannoy dominated the rest of the game giving the youngster no chance.

With the win, India topped the group with two wins and will face one of the second-placed teams from the other groups in the quarter-final tomorrow. 

Brief Scores:

1. Men’s Singles: Kidambi Srikanth vs Tian Houwei 21-11, 21-17

2. Men’s Doubles: Manu Attri/B. Sumeeth Reddy vs Li Junhui/Qiu Zihan 20-22, 11-21

3. Men’s Singles: Ajay Jayaram vs Wang Zhengming 22-20, 15-21, 21-18

4. Men’s Doubles: Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Akshay Dewalkar vs Wang Yilv/Zhang Wen 10-21, 18-21

5. Men’s Singles: HS Prannoy vs Shi Yuqi 21-14, 21-10

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