For the men’s team, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy and Chirag Shetty-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy registered the wins.
The Indian men’s badminton team scripted history by reaching their first Thomas Cup semi-final in 43 years after narrowly edging past Malaysia 3-2. It is the first time the team has reached this stage since 1979. However, the Indian women’s team led by double Olympic medallist – PV Sindhu – was knocked out of the Uber Cup following a 3-0 loss to Thailand in the quarter-finals at the Impact Arena. In the Thomas Cup tie against Malaysia, India had to rally back from an early setback to register the victory. For the men’s team, Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy and Chirag Shetty-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy registered the wins.
India did not have the best of starts after their highest-ranked men’s singles player at World No.9 – Lakshya Sen – lost the opening rubber to World No.6 Lee Zii Jia. Prior to the match, Sen had a good 2-0 head-to-head record over the Malaysian, with his last win coming at the semifinals of the All England in March. But on that day, Lee Zii Jia was superior to the Indian shuttler. The Malaysian player fought back from a deficit to prevail in a tight opening game before easing his way to victory in the second by beating Sen 23-21, 21-9.
A team that went with a mission and the historic milestone is crafted by ensuring the 1st ever #ThomasCup2022 medal only vendictates the decision to select the best shuttlers to represent🇮🇳including @PRANNOYHSPRI
— BAI Media (@BAI_Media) May 12, 2022
As a result, the pressure was on Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy to get India back on track and the duo did just that to help the country level the score in the second fixture of the tie. They come up against the in-form Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin. The first game was an intense neck-to-neck tie which the Indians survived in thrilling fashion. The second game was no different. However, at 14-14, the Indian duo went on a roll and secured seven points while giving away just one to clinch the match 21-19, 21-15.
India then took the lead through Kidambi Srikanth, who is the world championships silver medallist. Srikanth, who is the world No.11, got the better of NG Tze Yong in straight games. He won the first game easily but had to dig deep to win the second. The final score read 21-11, 21-17 in the Indian’s favour. Malaysia, however, came back strongly by leveling the score in the fourth rubber. Aaron Chia and Teo Ee Yi won against the Indian duo of Krishna Prasad and Vishnuvardhan Panjala Yi 21-19, 21-17.
HS Prannoy then made the most of the crucial final tie, as the Indian was far too good against Leong Jun Hao. Prannoy had a bit of difficulty in the first game but eased his way to victory in the next to clinch the match 21-13, 21-8, and secure India’s passage to the last-four stage. In the Thomas Cup, India reached the semis on only three occasions. It was in 1952, 1955 and 1979. In the last edition in 2020, India had to bow out in the quarterfinal stage. They will next play Denmark in the semifinals.
India got off to a poor start against Thailand in the Uber Cup after PV Sindhu went down to Ratchanok Intanon in three games. World No.7 Sindhu had a good start by taking an early lead. Intanon, who is World No. 8, rallied to win points of her own to close the gap in the opener, but the Indian narrowly prevailed in the game. However, the Thai ace came back strongly to pocket the next two games. The final score saw Sindhu losing the match 21-18, 17-21, 12-21 in an hour-long contest.
As for Sindhu, this was her fourth straight loss to Intanon. India’s chances did not get better in the tie, as the doubles pair of Shruti Mishra and Simran Singhi lost to Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai 21-16, 21-13 in the second rubber. India’s Uber Cup campaign came to a sad end in the third rubber when World No.10 Pornpawee Chochuwong defeated 54th-ranked Aakarshi Kashyap 21-16, 21-11. Thailand was joined by defending champions China, Japan and South Korea in the semi-finals.