Thailand’s women battled past stubborn Hong Kong China in the opening day’s final session of the Li-Ning BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2014 today.
In another Group Y match, India humbled Canada 5-0, while in the Thomas Cup Group D, China powered past France 5-0 and Chinese Taipei recovered from a match down to beat Russia 4-1.
The Thailand-Hong Kong China tie swung either way before Busanan Ongbumrungpan clinched the decisive victory in the final match. World champion Ratchanok Intanon put the Thais ahead with a comfortable victory over Yip Pui Yin, 21-9 21-13, in 38 minutes. Hong Kong’s Chau Hoi Wah/Poon Lok Yan (right) brought their country right back into the reckoning, taking even lesser time in getting past Savitree Amitrapai/Duanganong Aroonkesorn 21-18 21-15.
Nichaon Jindapon (featured image; 21-11 21-12 over Cheung Ying Mei) and Chan Tsz Ka/Tse Ying Suet (21-15 15-21 21-15 over Thailand’s Kunchala Voravichitchaikul/Sapsiree Taerattanachai) took the tie to a climactic fifth match, in which Ongbumrungpan proved too strong for Chan Hung Yung. The Thai took 38 minutes to decimate Chan’s challenge: 21-12 21-16.
India, meanwhile, had far too many weapons for Canada to counter. With two top ten players leading the challenge for the hosts, Canada could register their opposition only in the last match, in which Grace Gao and Rachael Honderich could take a game off Sikki Reddy and Pradnya Gadre.
Saina Nehwal and Sindhu PV gave India a 2-0 lead beating Joycelyn Ko and Rachael Honderich respectively. Asian bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa/Jwala Gutta (above) were similarly untroubled by Bruce Alex/Phyllis Chan, 21-11 21-12, before Thulasi PC made it 4-0 with an aggressive performance over Brittany Tam, 21-11 21-13. Gadre and Reddy lost a close first game but ensured the whitewash with a 20-22 21-18 21-16 score.
Nehwal, who hasn’t been in her best form in recent times, admitted her confidence wasn’t at its peak.
“I think still there are lots of tough matches ahead which I have to play. I can’t talk about momentum now. There is Hong Kong tomorrow. I have lost few matches recently so the confidence is still lacking. But I have seen some difference in my game when I played today. I could see my strokes had improved during training.
On her fitness, Saina said: “Nobody can say a player is 100 per cent. I think it’s about how you find your rhythm and how good you play in a particular tournament. So let’s us just wait for other matches and see how it goes.”
* China started their defence of the Thomas Cup without allowing any unpleasant surprises. World No.2 Chen Long and No.6 Du Pengyu helped China to a 2-0 lead in the singles against Brice Leverdez and Lucas Corvee respectively before Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan’s 21-16 21-14 result over Gaetan Mittelheisser/Bastian Kersaudy. World and Olympic champion Lin Dan breezed in and out of his appointment with Lucas Claerbout in the third singles (21-5 21-11) and Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan warmed up for harder battles ahead with a 21-14 21-18 verdict over Baptiste Careme/Lucas Corvee.
* Vladimir Ivanov was the ace in Russia’s pack but Chinese Taipei’s overall strength proved superior. Ivanov gave Russia the lead by beating Chou Tien Chen 21-18 21-17, but it was downhill for Russia from there. Chen Hung Ling/Lu Chia Pin made it 1-1 beating Anatoliy Yartsev/Rodion Kargaev 21-19 21-18. Hsu Jen Hao survived testing moments in the second singles but overcame Vladimir Malkov 21-13 23-21. The second Men’s Doubles was a tight encounter, with Lee Sheng Mu/Tsai Chia Hsin (above) prevailing over Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov 21-19 14-21 21-10. Chinese Taipei made it 4-0 through Lin Yu Hsien’s 21-11 21-11 result over Anton Ivanov.