Indian stars did their best but lost both singles and a doubles match to China. Saina Nehwal lost to Li Xuerui, PV Sindhu lost to Wang Shixian and Jwala Gutta/N Sikki Ready went down tamely to the Chinese pair of Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei. The 3-0 triumph took China to the Uber Cup final and on Saturday, they will play against Korea for the title. On their part, the Korean defeated Japan 3-1 to reach the final. In Thomas Cup semifinals, Denmark continued their dream-run in beating Malaysia 3-2 and for their first ever Thomas Cup title, they will play against 13-time winners Indonesia.
In Friday’s first Uber Cup semifinal, China defeated India 3-0. The Chinese will be aiming for their 14th Uber Cup title, when they meet Korea in the final on Saturday. The Koreans came through by beating Japan 3-1 in the other semifinal. The first match of the China-India tie featured Li Xuerui and Saina Nehwal. Saina didn’t play a bad match at all. After losing the first game 15-21, Saina bounced back in the second and leveled the game scores by winning at 21-12. The Indian ace remained in contention in the third until 13-13, when Li destroyed Saina with some fierce smashes and accurate net-play before racing to the 21-15,12-12, 21-17 victory. In the second doubles match, PV Sindhu lost the first game 13-21 against Wang Shixian. But the lanky Indian found her foothold to lead 18-8 in the second game. However, Wang produced a rearguard action in reeling off point after point as Sindhu lapsed into errors. The Chinese caught up with Sindhu at 20-20 and took the match 21-13, 23-21. Now India needed to win their doubles match to stay in contention. But India’s of Jwala Gutta/N Sikki Reddy were no match for Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei, who devastated the Indian women 21-6, 21-6 and took China to the final. For India, however, entry to the semifinal will still fetch them the bronze medal just as they had won bronze in 2014 Uber Cup at Delhi.
In the other Uber Cup semifinal, Korea defeated Japan 3-1 to set up a summit clash with China. Korea began by winning the first singles match 21-13, 21-12 against Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara. In the doubles match that followed, Koreans took the 2-0 lead, when Jung Kyung-Eun/Shin Seung-Chan shocked world no.1 Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi 21-19, 15-21, 21-16. However, there was a tragic moment for the Koreans soon afterwards. In the second singles, Bae Yeon-Ju collapsed on the court due to an ankle injury and Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi won by default. Korea still had the 2-1 lead and they made it 3-1 by winning their second doubles match, when Chang Ye-Na/Lee So-Hee defeated Japan’s Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao 21-15, 21-14. That victory took Korea into the Uber Cup final.
In Thomas Cup semifinals, Indonesia defeated Korea 3-1 after losing their opening singles game. Korea’s Son Wan Ho defeated Jonatan Christie 21-10, 21-16 to take the 1-0 lead in the tie. But Indonesia leveled the score 1-1, when Korea’s no.1 pair in the world Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong lost 15-21, 12-21 to a scintillating display by Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan. Indonesia took the 2-1 lead in the tie, when their budding youngster Anthony Ginting scored a 21-18, 21-18 victory over Korea’s Lee Dong Kuen. Indonesia’s Victory in the second doubles match ensured that they reach the final. Ricky Karanda Suwardi/Angga Pratama outfoxed Korea’s Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang 21-15, 21-18. In the final on Sunday, Indonesia will face Denmark, who defeated Malaysia 3-2 in the other semifinal.
The Denmark-Malaysia tie was a thrilling showdown between the two nations. The tie began with world no.2 Lee Chong Wei outlasting a feisty Viktor Axelsen 23-21, 21-18. Malaysia enhanced their lead to 2-0, when their doubles team of Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong defeated Mathias Boe/Mads Conrad-Petersen 21-18, 21-18. However Denmark cut the deficit to 2-1, when Hans-Kristian Vittinghus beat Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin 21-18, 21-18. In the doubles match that followed, Denmark’s Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen outlasted Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong 10-21, 21-8, 21-13 and brought the Danes 2-2 in the tie. The result of the last singles match took Denmark into final. Keeping his head on his shoulders, Emil Holst defeated Malaysia’s Chong Wei Feng 21-15, 21-18 and Denmark went through, leaving the Malaysians thoroughly disappointed.
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