Badminton: Indian eves assured of bronze in Uber Cup

Kunshan (China), May 19 (IANS) The Indian women’s badminton team was assured of a second straight bronze medal in the Uber Cup as it moved past Thailand 3-1 to enter the semi-finals here on Thursday.

India, who lost to Japan in the 2014 edition in the semi-finals to settle for their maiden bronze medal, won before the fifth rubber despite their spearhead Saina Nehwal losing the first match.

World Championship 2015 runner-up Saina lost to world No.2 and former world champion Ratchanok Intanon 12-21, 19-21 in 41 minutes at the Kunshan Sports Centre. Ratchanok’s deception and guile proved to be difficult for Saina.

It was the 21-year-old Thai’s fifth win in 11 encounters against the 26-year-old Saina, bronze medallist in the 2012 Olympics.

In the second singles match, double World Championship bronze medallist P.V. Sindhu brought India level 1-1 with a comprehensive 21-18, 21-7 triumph in 43 minutes over world No.21 Busanan Ongbamrungphan.

Experienced doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa gave India the 2-1 lead as they quelled the challenge of Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai 21-18, 21-16 in 39 minutes.

Later, world No.119 Ruthvika Shivani Gadde played out of her skin to shock No.25 Nitchaon Jindapol 21-18, 21-16 in 41 minutes to hand India the 3-1 victory.

In other quarter-finals of the day, South Korea defeated Indonesia 3-1, defending champions China got the better of Chinese Taipei 3-0 and Japan ended Denmark’s campaign with a 3-0 triumph.

In the semi-final on Friday, India face a tough task of beating two-time defending champions and record 13-time winners China.

In the Thomas Cup matches, Lee Chong Wei-led Malaysia thrashed Chinese Taipei 3-1, while Indonesia beat Hong Kong 3-1.

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