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Indian women closer to Uber Cup quarters, men fade in Thomas Cup

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 17 May 2016, 23:52 IST

Saina Nehwal guided the Indian eves to a dominating 5-0 win over Germany to stay on course for a knockout berth in Uber Cup, but the men's team suffered a narrow 2-3 defeat against Hong Kong and now stare at an early exit from the Thomas Cup badminton tournament.

It turned out to be another disappointing day for the men's team after Ajay Jayaram lost the opening singles and Rio-bound pair of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy and young combo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also lost their respective doubles matches on 17 May.

Sai Praneeth and Sourabh Verma restored some pride with thrilling victories in the second and third singles to narrow down the margin of defeat.

Later in the day, Saina and PV Sindhu enthralled the spectators with straight-game wins in the women's singles. The team of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa then bounced back from a game down to eke out a win in the first women's doubles to give India an unassailable 3-0 lead.

Starting the proceedings for Indian women's team, London Olympic bronze medallist Saina thrashed Fabienne Deprez 21-15, 21-10 while World No. 10 Sindhu brushed aside Luise Heim 21-7, 21-12 to give India a 2-0 lead.

Commonwealth Games 2010 gold medallists, Jwala and Ashwini prevailed over Linda Efler and Lara Kaepplein 14-21, 21-9, 21-8 in a 41-minute clash in the first doubles to give India a 3-0 advantage.

In the last two inconsequential matches, Ruthvika Shivani Gadde trounced Yvonne Li 21-5, 21-15, while N Sikki Reddy and Sindhu paired up to beat Isabel Herttrich and Franziska Volkmann 21-18, 19-21, 22-20 in the second doubles.

India will take on the 2014 runners-up Japan in a Group D match on 18 May. The Indian eves had lost 2-3 to Japan in the semifinals of the last edition.

Facing Exit

Earlier, world number 21 Jayaram opened the proceedings for India against Ng Ka Long Angus, ranked 11th, but his fight ended with a 13-21, 12-21 loss in little over half an hour.

Manu and Sumeeth, the first men's doubles pair to qualify for Olympics, also lost the opening doubles, going down 19-21, 12-21 in 32 minutes as India fell 0-2 behind.

Praneeth then took the court for the second singles and dished out a gruelling performance to edge out world number 14 Hu Yun 23-21, 23-21 in a 47-minute contest.

However, the euphoria was shortlived as Satwiksairaj and Chirag went down 10-21, 11-21 to Tsz Kit Chan and Cheuk Him Law in the fourth rubber.

Senior Nationals runners-up, Sourabh, who is making a comeback after a series of injuries, played out of his skin to upset world number 17 Nan Wei 17-21, 21-19, 21-9 in the third singles.

Indian men, who have qualified for the Thomas Cup Final only eight times since its inception in 1948-49, will next take on Indonesia in a Group B match on 18 May.

India had not qualified for the knockout stage till 2006. The men's team broke the jinx by reaching the quarterfinals in Japan. They also reached the final eight in 2010. In the last edition, India could not go beyond the group stage.

First published: 17 May 2016, 23:52 IST