The Indian men's badminton team has crated history yet again in Bangok, Thailand after defeating Denmark 3-2 in the semi-finals of Thomas Cup. This is the first time in the 73-year history of the tournament that India have made the final.
HS Prannoy won the decider against Denmark, showing nerves of steel to see off the Danish challenge from Rasmus Gemke in a very tightly contested fifth game of the tie.
India will play defending champions and 14-time winners Indonesia on Sunday in the final. They beat Japan in the semi-final. Indian men had previously reached the Thomas Cup semis in 1952, 1955 and 1979.
Lakshya Sen vs Viktor Axelsen
One of India's star player Lakshya Sen was up against Denmark's Viktor Axelsen for the first match of the semi-finals round. But it didn't turn out to be a successful start for the Indian team as Sen lost in straight sets of 21-13, 21-13 against Axelsen.
This was the two shuttlers' third clash of the year. While the Indian youngster shocked the Danish ace in the German Open semis in March, Axelsen registered the win in the All England Open final later that month.
Sen started the match well but Axelsen soon took charge and cruised to a comfortable win in the first game. The Indian shuttler managed to produce some breathtaking moments in the second game but was not consistent enough to worry the Dane, who wrapped up the first rubber in 49 minutes.
Denmark took the lead in the contest by 1-0 as the master Axelsen put on a show.
Satwik Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty vs Kim Astrup-Mathias Christiansen
Doubles was up next and Satwik Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty were facing Kim Astrup-Mathias Christiansen for Match 2 of the semi-finals.
After a disappointing start, India's hope of reaching the finals was lifted by Satwik-Chirag as they won a thriller by 21-18, 21-23, 22-20, against the Danish duo in an hour and 17-minute-long marathon clash. After winning a hard-fought opening game, the Indian duo squandered two match points in the second as the Danes forced a decider.
Kim Astrup and Mathias Christiansen looked favourites to complete a come-from-behind victory after taking an 8-5 lead early into the third game but the Indian duo, spurred by an exceptional patch of play by Chirag, turned it around and brought India level at 1-1.
Kidambi Srikanth vs Andre Antonsen
India then took the lead in the tie for the first time with Kidambi Srikanth beating fellow world championships silver medallist Anders Antonsen 21-18, 12-21, 21-14. It was an intriguing contest with the Indian recovering from a slow start to take the first game. The Dane hit back, attacking Srikanth at the back court to come roaring back in the second.
Srikanth took the lead in the decider but Antonsen almost caught up before the former world No 1 broke away and secured the win.
Krishna Prasad Garaga-Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala vs Andres Skaarup Ramussen-Frederik Sogaard
However, Game 4 didn't out to be a good one for India as duo Krishna Prasad Garaga-Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala lost to Andres Skaarup Ramussen-Frederik Sogaard, in straight games by 21-14, 21-13.
The India vs Denmark Thomas Cup semi-final match was now headed into a decider match between HS Prannoy and Rasmus Gemke.
HS Prannoy vs Rasmus Gemke
With the final singles tie set up as the decider, HS Prannoy, who had produced a clutch win against Malaysia in the quarters, stepped up against Rasmus Gemke.
Though suffering an ankle injury early in the contest, Prannoy produced a remarkable 13-21, 21-9, 21-12 come-from-behind victory to see India past the finish line.