Saina guides India to 3-2 win over Thailand
Saina Nehwal produced one of her finest performance in recent times to guide Indian eves to a 2-3 victory over Thailand and catapult the hosts to the top of Group Y in the Uber cup badminton tournament.
Star shutters Saina and P.V. Sindhu notched up comfortable victories in the first two singles and then Commonwealh Games gold medalists pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa completed the drubbing with another gutsy win to put India 3-0 ahead at the Siri Fort Sports complex.
However, P.C. Thulasi and the Saina-Sindhu combination lost the last two matches as Thailand registered two consolation wins to reduce the victory margin in the end.
Back at the venue where she had won the Commonwealth Games gold, Saina enthralled the spectators with her array of shots and better court coverage to stave off the challenge from World champion Ratchanok Intanon 22-20 21-14 in the first singles to give India a brilliant start against Thailand.
Malaysia Grand Prix Gold winner, P.V. Sindhu then resisted determined fightback by Porntip Buranaprasertsuk from 11-14 to 19-19 in the first game to eventually prevail 21-19 21-14 in a minute match in the second singles to swell India’s lead to 2-0.
2011 World championship bronze medallist pair of Jwala and Ashwini, who recently won the bronze at Asian Championship last month, came up with another superb show to thrash Duanganong Aroonkesorn and Savitree Amitrapai 21-16 21-13 in a 33-minute doubles match.
Playing the third singles, P.C. Thulasi, however, failed to get across Busanan Ongbumrungpan and went down 15-21 10-21 as Thailand logged their first points on board.
Saina and Sindhu, then paired up for the first time and showed sparks of brilliance as they took a game away from the Thailand pair of Kunchala Voravichitchaikul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai before going down fighting 13-21 21-18 15-21 in a thrilling match.
Among other teams, Japanese eves got the better of Malaysia to book their place in the Uber Cup quarterfinals, while their men’s team defeated Hong Kong 5-0 to make it to the last eight.
Danish men and women also reached the knockout stage. While the Danes defeated Germany 5-0 to join Japan in the Uber Cup from Group Z, their male counterpart hammered England with an identical margin to make it to the last eight in Thomas Cup in Group B.
Also making it to the last eight were Thailand and Indonesia in Thomas Cup from Group A and Korea and Indonesia in Uber Cup from Group X.