India survived a strong Canadian challenge to finish victors in their opening tie of Group B in the BWF Uber Cup Finals 2022.
The Indians, having arrived in Bangkok without Saina Nehwal, Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy, kept the faith through difficult phases against the Canadians to prevail in a close tie, with the final game finishing 22-20 in favour of Ashmita Chaliha.
Chaliha’s three-game win over Rachel Chan took the Indians to 4-1, but the tie was a lot closer than the score suggested.
The match that proved pivotal was the second singles. Zhang Wen Yu was up a game and 12-7 against Aakarshi Kashyap before losing her way with some inconsistent play, and the tenacious Indian pounced on the opportunities to take the match 17-21 21-18 21-17.
That set the stage for Tanisha Crasto and Treesa Jolly – a scratch combination, for Jolly’s regular partner Gayatri Gopichand Pullela had pulled out from the event with injury – but they still proved too sharp for Catherine Choi/Josephine Wu, clinching the tie in straight games.
“We’re very happy because this match was 50-50 and we were able to score a point for India today,” said Crasto. “We both have a good attack and were trying to make use of our strengths. We were able to gel along very well. We have different partners; this is the first time we’re playing together. The key thing is trust; we had faith in each other, that we’d help each other out.”
Wrapping the tie up 4-1 for the Indians was Ashmita Chaliha, who staged an impressive comeback in the third game from 10-16 down to win the match 12-21 21-11 22-20.
♦ Korea came from behind to beat Thailand in Thomas Cup Group A. Kunlavut Vitidsarn put the hosts ahead beating Heo Kwang Hee 21-14 21-6, but Korea Open champions Kang Min Hyuk/Seo Seung Jae brought Korea level. Jeon Hyeok Jin and Choi Sol Gyu/Kim Won Ho then put the tie beyond the Thais with straight games wins.
♦ Japan faced little trouble in blanking Germany 5-0 in Uber Cup Group A. Yvonne Li was combative in the opening match against Akane Yamaguchi, but the Japanese were never under pressure, closing out all the matches in straight games.
♦ Uber Cup powerhouses China were in cruise mode against Australia in Group C. Oceania champion Wendy Chen provided some resistance in the opening singles against Chen Yu Fei, but the rest of the Australian team couldn’t match up to the might of the defending champions.