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Badminton Asia C'ships: Ind Women Make History, Stun Japan to Reach Maiden Final

Badminton Asia C'ships: Indian women's team beat Japan 3-2 to enter the finals of the tournament for the first time.

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The Indian women’s team scripted history in the Badminton Asia Team Championship (BATC) 2024 by securing a maiden finals berth defeating Japan 3-2 in the semis, in Malaysia on Saturday.

Facing a formidable Japanese side, the Indian team showcased remarkable performance, rallying behind their young talents to secure a memorable win.

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Having reached the last four stage for the first time in the history of the tournament, the women needed a strong start from two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu but things did not go according to plan.

Sindhu began strong against Aya Ohori but a dip in concentration helped the Japanese take the opening game. The Indian star shuttler lost nine straight points at the start of the second game till she herself stitched together a run of nine points to draw level 10-19 to 19-19. She did manage to save a match point but could not sustain the momentum and lost 21-13, 22-20.

Badminton Asia C'ships: Indian women's team beat Japan 3-2 to enter the finals of the tournament for the first time.

PV Sindhu was defeated in straight games by Japan's Aya Ohori

Photo: BAI

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The young combination of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand then had an uphill task of upsetting world no. 6 pairing of Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida to keep the team in the hunt and they delivered in what was the third meeting between the two pairs.

Treesa and Gayatri began by winning the opening game but the experience of the Japanese found a way to force the decider. They found their footing once again in the decider and opened up a 19-13 lead before they were again put under pressure by their more experienced opponents. To their credit, the young Indian combination did not lose heart despite the scores being levelled at 19-19 and then converted their second match point to win 21-17, 16-21, 22-20.

Badminton Asia C'ships: Indian women's team beat Japan 3-2 to enter the finals of the tournament for the first time.

Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand got the better of the Japanese duo. 

Photo: BAI

The momentum swung in India's favor as Ashmita Chaliha stunned the experienced Nozomi Okuhara with a commanding straight-game win (21-17, 21-14), extending India's lead to 2-1.

Badminton Asia C'ships: Indian women's team beat Japan 3-2 to enter the finals of the tournament for the first time.

Ashmita Chaliha defeated Japan's Nozomi Okuhara in straight games

Photo: BAI

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In the fourth rubber, India went with a scratch pair of Sindhu and Ashwini Ponnappa, in the absence of injured Tanisha Crasto, and Japanese duo Rena Miyaura and Ayako Sakuramoto did not find it hard to beat the Indian pair 21-14, 21-11.

The stage was set for a thrilling finale, with 17-year-old Anmol Kharb stepping up to the challenge despite her limited experience in the tournament.

The reigning national champion Kharb showcased nerves of steel and impeccable skill, overpowering world number 29 Natsuki Nidaira in straight games (21-14, 21-18) to seal India's historic victory and secure a spot in the final.

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