Friday, February 19, 2016
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO
India pulled off a sensational win over China in a Group MA tie of the Happening Hyderabad Badminton Asia Team Championships 2016 yesterday.
It was the first-ever team win for India over China, which fielded a team minus stalwarts Chen Long, Lin Dan and doubles pair Zhang Nan/Fu Haifeng. The Indians topped group MA and face Malaysia in the quarter-finals, while China face a strong Korean team.
In other men’s team ties, Korea held off Hong Kong 3-2, Sri Lanka beat Nepal 5-0 and Japan outclassed Malaysia 4-1. In women’s team action, China powered past Malaysia 4-1, Thailand had it easy over Chinese Taipei 4-1, Japan routed India 5-0 and Korea dominated Indonesia 4-1.
It was Srikanth Kidambi who set up India’s win. Having lost all five previous meetings to Tian Houwei, the Indian was the underdog but he outclassed his opponent 21-11 21-17.
Scratch pair Li Junhui/Qiu Zihan levelled the deficit by beating Manu Attri/Sumeeth Reddy 22-20 21-11, but Ajay Jayaram came to the hosts’ rescue, with a tough win under pressure over Wang Zhengming, 22-20 15-21 21-18.
China’s doubles once again stood strong, with Wang Yilv/Zhang Wen outpointing Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Akshay Dewalkar 21-10 21-18.
But India’s singles strength had greater depth, and HS Prannoy clinched the final match over YOG champion Shi Yuqi 21-14 21-10.
The other close men’s team match was between Hong Kong and Korea. Hong Kong gained a 2-1 lead with wins from Hu Yun (over Son Wan Ho) and Ng Ka Long (over Lee Dong Keun). However, former World champions Shin Baek Choel/Ko Sung Hyun made it past Chan Tsz Kit/Lee Chun Hei, and young hope Jeon Hyeok Jin didn’t disappoint for Korea when he eased past Law Cheuk Him 21-10 21-8.
In the women’s team event, China and Korea carved out identical 4-1 wins over Malaysia and Indonesia respectively. Although China were never threatened, they suffered a jolt when OUE Singapore Open champion Sun Yu went down to World Junior champion Goh Jin Wei 21-13 21-16.
Quarter-finals: Men’s Team: Malaysia vs India; Hong Kong vs Indonesia; Korea vs China; Japan vs Chinese Taipei
Women’s Team: Malaysia vs Thailand; Chinese Taipei vs Japan; Korea vs India; China vs Indonesia
Click here for full results.