Alor Setar (Malaysia): The Indian men and women's teams today qualified for the quarterfinals despite losing to their respective opponents in the Badminton Asia Team Championship, here on Thursday.
In the women's event, P V Sindhu notched up the only win for India in their 1-4 loss to Japan. The Indian women advanced to quarterfinals despite the loss.
Sindhu extended her domination over world No.2 Akane Yamaguchi with a straight-game win. Despite the loss, India qualified for the quarter-final in both the women's and men's competition.
The Indian women finished second in Group W with one win and one loss ahead of Hong Kong China but behind Japan. The Sindhu-led squad had defeated Hong Kong China 3-2 in its opening group tie.
The men's team also lost to Indonesia 2-3 in a tight contest but still qualified for the quarterfinals from Group D. The Indians had beaten lower-ranked Philippines and Maldives in their earlier matches.
Taking the court first, Olympic silver-medallist Sindhu dished out a fine attacking performance to beat Yamaguchi 21-19, 21-15 in 36 minutes.
By virtue of this win, world No.4 Sindhu now enjoys a 5-3 head-to-head record against Yamaguchi.
However, Sindhu did not get enough support from her teammates as Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli was no match for world No.13 Sayaka Sato, losing the second singles 12-21 10-21 to help Japan draw level.
Doubles specialist Ashwini Ponnappa was then tamed 14-21, 12-21 by world No.16 Aya Ohori in the third singles match as Japan took a 2-1 lead.
It was then left to the doubles specialists to bring India back into the tie but both the Indian pairs went down after a good fight.
The onus was on Sanyogita Ghorpade and Prajakta Sawant to draw parity for India but they lost 17-21, 17-21 against Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto in the first doubles match to hand Japan an unassailable 3-1 lead.
The script turned out to be the same for India in the last inconsequential match of the tie as Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost 18-21, 18-21 to Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi.
In the men's matches, Kidambi Srikanth took the field first but to the disappointment of the Indian camp, he lost the match against Jonatan Christie 17-21, 17-21.
The men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Ranki Reddy and Chirag Shetty levelled the tie with a hard-fought 18-21, 21-18, 24-22 win over Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.
B Sai Praneeth then gave India the advantage with a 21-18, 21-19 victory over Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the second singles match.
The Indians, however, were beaten by their opponents in the last two matches to lose the tie.
The doubles pair of Arjun M R and Ramchandran Shlok squandered a game lead to lose the match 21-14, 16-21, 12-21 before B Sumeeth Reddy surrendered tamely to Ihsan Maulana Mustofa 12-21, 7-21 in the third singles.
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