India stun China 3-2 in BATC women’s competition with Sindhu making winning return

A file photo of P.V. Sindhu

A file photo of P.V. Sindhu
| Photo Credit: AP

Two-time Olympic medallist P.V. Sindhu made a winning return from a lengthy injury lay-off as India stunned formidable China 3-2 in the women’s competition of the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Shah Alam on Wednesday.

With just two teams in Group W, India were assured of a knock-out round berth even before their opening match but the team made its mark in style with the shock win over the top-seeded Chinese side.

The Indian men’s team, which lifted the Thomas Cup in 2022 and secured a first-ever silver medal at last year’s Asian Games, registered a dominating 4-1 win over Hong Kong to qualify for the knock-out round from Group A. Hong Kong had lost to China 0-5 on Tuesday. India will take on top seeds China on Thursday to decide the group winner in the men’s section.

Sindhu, who was missing in action since October last year due to a knee injury sustained at the French Open, led the way as she beat higher-ranked Han Yue 21-17, 21-15 in 40 minutes to give India 1-0 lead in the women’s tie.

The 28-year-old, who won a silver in the 2016 Olympics followed by a bronze in the Tokyo Games, is currently ranked 11th while Yue is world number eight.

The pair of Tanisha Castro and Ashwini Ponappa then lost to Liu Sheng Shu and Tan Ning 19-21 16-21, followed by Ashmita Chaliha’s 13-21 15-21 loss to world number nine Wang Zhi Yi, as India trailed 1-2 after three matches.

India were on level terms when Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand beat the Chinese duo of Li Yi Jing and Luo Xu Min 10-21 21-18 21-17 in one hour and nine minutes in the women’s doubles.

In the deciding match against the second-string Chinese outfit, Anmol Kharb punched way above her weight as the 472nd-ranked Indian emerged 22-20, 14-21, 21-18 winner over world number 149 Wu Luo Yu in a gruelling one hour and 17 minute contest to give India a memorable win.

Meanwhile, in the men’s competition, H.S. Prannoy lost the first singles against Ng Ka Long Angus 18-21,14-21 but that turned out to be the only blip for India who won the next four matches.

World number one men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty were ruthless in their 33-minute-long 21-16, 21-11 win over Lui Chun Wai and Yeung Shing Choi before Lakshya Sen easily beat Chan Yin Chak 21-14,21-9 to give India the lead.

With momentum on their side, India quickly wrapped up the tie with the pair of M R Arjun and Dhruv Kapila making it 3-1 with a 21-12,21-7 win over Chow Hin Long and Hung Kuei Chun, before Kidambi Srikanth beat Jason Gunawan 21-14, 21-18 to complete the rout.

The top two teams from each of the four groups will make it to the knock-out round.

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