India booked a place in the quarter-finals of the Uber Cup after they beat Scotland 4-1 in the Group B encounter. Later in the night, the Indian men’s badminton team hammered Tahiti 5-0 in a Group C match to enter the quarterfinals of the ongoing Thomas Cup here for the first time since 2010.
Indian women, without the experience of Saina Nehwal and Ashwini Ponnappa-Sikki Reddy in the must-win tie, started with a defeat as Malivka Bansod lost the first encounter but bounced back in style to win the next four and seal their passage into the knockout stage.
The most daunting task of the tie fell to 20-year-old Bansod who was beaten 21-13, 21-9 by veteran Scottish star Kirsty Gilmour in the first women’s singles match as the Europeans took a 1-0 lead in the contest. Aditi Bhatt helped India storm back in the contest with a 21-14, 21-8 win against Rachel Sugden in the second women’s singles match.
Tanisha Crasto and Rutuparna Panda then registered a dominant 21-11, 21-8 victory over Julie Macpherson and Ciara Torrance in the women’s doubles match as India took a 2-1 lead in the tie.
Tasnim Mir, 16 years old and on good form in the junior international circuit, then sealed India’s passage to the quarters on her Uber Cup debut with a solid 21-15, 21-6 win over Lauren Middleton in the women’s singles match.
In the final match of the tie, which was rendered inconsequential by three successive Indian wins, Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand record a 21-8, 19-21, 21-10 victory over Kirsty Gilmour and Eleaner O’Donnell in the women’s doubles encounter to make it 4-1 in India’s favour.
India had earlier beaten Spain 3-2 in the opening tie of Group B and will face Thailand in their final group tie. The match will decide who tops Group B as both teams have enjoyed a 100% record in the tournament so far.
For the men’s team in Thomas Cup, it was a breezy win against underdogs Tahit with only match going beyond 23 minutes. It was the second straight 5-0 win for India, the team having beaten the Netherlands with an identical margin on Sunday. Tuesday’s win over the island nation ensured India’s finish in top-two in the four-team Group C. India will take on traditional powerhouse China in the final match on Thursday to decide group toppers.
B Sai Praneeth began the proceedings with a 21-5 21-6 win over Louis Beaubois in just 23 minutes in the opening singles. Sameer Verma made it 2-0 with the longest match of the tie, a 21-12 21-12 victory over Remi Rossi in 41 minutes.
Kiran George sealed the tie for India with a 21-4 21-2 thrashing of Elias Maublanc in the third men’’s singles that got over in only 15 minutes.
In the doubles matches, the pair of Krishna Prasad and Vishnu Vardhan achieved a 21-8 21-7 win in 21 minutes.
In the final doubles match of the day, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty beat Maublanc and Heiva Yvonet 21-5 21-3.
It is the first time since 2010 that the Indian men’s team has made the quarterfinals of the tournament. Back then, they lost to Indonesia in the quarters. The Indian women have twice (2014, New Delhi and 2016, Kunshan) reached the semifinals of the tournament.
With PTI inputs
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