Asia Team Championships: Indians Start on Winning Note
Olympic silver-medallist PV Sindhu led the women's team to a thrilling 3-2 win over Hong Kong while the men's side routed Philippines 5-0 as India made a positive start in the Asia badminton Team Championship in Alor Setar on Tuesday.
With London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal pulling out of the tournament citing a groin injury, Sindhu proved her mettle as she first claimed the singles match and then combined with N Sikki Reddy to win the second doubles game.
Sindhu recovered quickly from her heart-breaking loss at the final of the India Open last Sunday and won 21-12, 21-18 over Hong Kong's Yip Pui Yin in the first singles.
Ashwini Ponnappa and Prajakta Sawant then played their heart out before losing 22-20, 20-22, 10-21 to Ng Wing Yung and Yeung Nga Ting in a 52-minute first women's doubles clash.
Young Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli took the court against Cheung Ying Mei but her gallant fight ended with a 19-21, 21-18, 20-22 loss in the second singles as India trailed 1-2 after three of the five-match tie.
Sindhu then combined with Sikki and notched up a 21-15, 15-21, 21-14 win over Ng Tsz Yau and Yuen Sin Ying to equalise.
It eventually came down to the third singles and Ruthvika Shivani Gadde recovered from a game down to outwit Yeung Sum Yee 16-21, 21-16, 21-13 to earn India the crucial win.
The Asia Team championship is also a qualifier for the Uber Cup Final with the semi-finalists earning the right to play in Bangkok in May.
On Thursday, India will take on a formidable Japan, who boast of World Number 2 Akane Yamaguchi and reigning world champion Nozomi Okuhara.
In the men's event, Kidambi Srikanth led the rout of Philippines with a 21-11, 21-12 win over Ros Leonard Pedrosa before the doubles duo of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy had an easy 21-15, 21-13 victory over Carlos Antonie Cayanan and Philip Joper Escueta as India went 2-0 up in no time.
B Sai Praneeth hardly broke a sweat in his 21-6, 21-10 win over Arthur Samuel Salvado in the second singles before Arjun M R and Ramchandran Shlok beat the pair of Peter Gabriel Magnaye and Alvin Morada 21-18, 21-17 in the second doubles.
Sameer Verma then completed the rout with a 21-15, 21-12 win over Lanz Ralf Zafra in the third singles.
The Indian men's team play Maldives on Wednesday.