Asian C’ships: Kidambi, Praneeth Lose But India Enter the Semis
The Indian men's team assured itself of a medal after progressing to the semifinals with a thrilling 3-2 win over Thailand at the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Manila on Friday.
After star shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth faced reversals in the first two singles ties, India fought back to win the next three ties, which included a single and two doubles rubbers, to prevail over Thailand in the quarterfinals and set up a last four meeting with two-time defending champions Indonesia.
World Championships bronze medallist B Sai Praneeth started the proceedings, but his gallant effort ended in a 14-21 21-14 12-21 loss to world No 12 Kantaphon Wangcharoen, as India lagged 0-1.
In the second singles, former world No 1 Srikanth went down 20-22 14-21 to Kunlavut Vitidsarn, a three-time world junior champion, as India slipped to 0-2.
The pairing of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila kept India in the hunt with a 21-18 22-20 win over Kittinupong Kedren and Tanupat Viriyangkura in the first doubles.
It then all boiled down to the makeshift pair of Chirag Shetty and Srikanth and the Indian duo dished out a superb game to outwit the pairing of Maneepong Jongjit and Nipitphon Phuangphuapet 21-15 16-21 21-15 in the deciding second doubles tie.
Indonesia boast of Asian Games champion and world number seven Jonathan Christie and world number five Anthony Sinisuka Ginting. They also have the world number one pair of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, apart from the formidable Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan.
"Beating Indonesia will be a difficult task because they have such formidable doubles pairs and even in singles, there players are ranked in top 10, so tough but if we can put the best foot foward like today, we hope to do well," Chirag signed off.
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