India’s women squad for Uber Cup suffered a 2-3 defeat against Japan but still managed to reach the playoff stage. In their last Group D match, in Kunshan, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu won their singles matches but India lost the other singles match and both the doubles matches. Regardless, India qualified because they ended behind Japan in their Group after beating Australia and Germany earlier. However, India’s considerably weakened Thomas Cup men’s squad continued their sordid show and having earlier lost to Thailand and Hong Kong, collapsed against Indonesia in their last Group tie. India didn’t have Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap and their best hope, HS Prannoy didn’t play against Indonesia. As per the knock-out draw announced earlier, Indian women will have to beat the talented Thailand team on Thursday if they want to progress further in the tournament.
After beating Australia and Germany with a 5-0 margin in their first two Group D games, India’s entry to the round-of-eight had become a foregone conclusion. Their last game pitted them against the strong Japanese squad and to India’s credit, they only had a narrow 2-3 loss. They began their tie against Japan with Saina Nehwal playing against world no.5 Nozomi Okuhara. Saina had lost to Okuhara in Dubai BWF Superseries but on Wednesday, Saina avenged that loss with a 21-18, 21-6 win. India’s next game featured PV Sindhu playing against world no.11 Akane Yamaguchi. Sindhu didn’t face much problem in beating Yamaguchi 21-11, 21-18 as India took a 2-0 lead in the tie.
Next game had India’s Jwala Gutta/N Sikki Reddy playing against world’s no.1 pair of Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi. Jwala/Reddy expectedly succumbed to the well-oiled performance from the Japanese, going down 7-21, 14-21 in just 29 minutes. India lost their third singles match as well with Ruthvika Shivani Gadde losing tamely against Sayaka Sato. In the last doubles match, the pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and PV Sindhu fought gallantly against Shizuka Matsuo/Mami Naito before losing 21-15 19-21 16-21.
Against Indonesia, Indian men performed disastrously losing all the five matches of the tie. Ajay Jayaram lost 14-21, 12-21 to Christie Jonatan; Manu Attri/Akshay Dewalkar fell 18-21, 17-21 against Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi; B Sai Praneeth suffered a fighting 21-18, 11-21, 15-21 loss against Ginting Anthony; Sumeeth Reddy/Satwiksairaj Rankireddy lost 9-21, 18-21 against Gideon Markus Fernaldi/Hendra Setiawan and in the last singles game, Sourabh Varma lost 10-21, 22-20, 13-21 against Ihsan Maulana Mustofa.
China extracted their revenge for their 2014 Thomas Cup loss by beating Japan 5-0 in their last Group A match. Though Japan didn’t have the services of their top star Kento Momota, other Japanese shuttlers couldn’t stand the barrage from Chen Long, Lin Dan and Tian Houwei in singles and the twin pairs of Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan and Li Junhui/Zheng Siwei in the doubles. Thailand couldn’t make it to the Thomas Cup quarterfinal as they finished third behind Indonesia and Hong Kong in Group B. Denmark were the surprise quarter finalists in Thomas Cup by edging out Taiwan to top the Group D. Taiwan, however, qualified by virtue of their second place in the Group.
Malaysia’s three singles players powered their team to the top position in Thomas Cup Group C by defeating Korea 3-2. But Korea also made it to the round-of-eight by finishing second. Lee Chong Wei gave his team a flying start and other singles players Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and Chong Wei Feng also won their matches to clinch the top place for Malaysia in their Group. Malaysians, however, lost both their doubles matches to the strong Korean doubles teams.
In Uber Cup Group B, Korea trounced Taiwan 4-1; Thailand beat Indonesia 3-2 in Group C and Taiwan bludgeoned South Africa 5-0 in Group D and all three teams made the quarterfinal grade. The Uber Cup quarterfinal line-up features China Vs Taiwan; Indonesia Vs Korea and Japan Vs Denmark.
China, Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan and Denmark have also reached the Thomas Cup quarterfinals along with Malaysia and Hong Kong and the draw pits China against Korea; Indonesia against Hong Kong; Taiwan against Malaysia and Japan against Denmark.