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Asian Games

Asian Games 2023: Indian women's badminton team faces mighty Thailand in quarterfinal

PV Sindhu, Ashmita Chaliha and Anupama Upadhyaya won their matches in straight games against Mongolia as India sealed the Round of 16 tie 3-0 and set up a quarterfinal clash against Thailand.

PV Sindhu Badminton
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PV Sindhu in action during a BWF event.

By

Sudipta Biswas

Updated: 28 Sep 2023 3:51 AM GMT

Indian women's badminton team routed Mongolia 3-0 in its Round of 16 tie in the 19th Asian Games before the big test against Thailand, the three-time Asiad silver medallist, in the quarterfinal on Friday.

Indian vs Mongolia - Highlights

Leading the team from the front, world no. 15 PV Sindhu warmed herself up with a 21-2, 21-3 straight-game win over Myagmartseren Ganbaatar in 20 minutes. Myagmartseren, ranked far below at 775th in the world rankings, failed to negotiate with her formidable opponent Sindhu, a five World Championships and two-time Olympic medallist.

While Sindhu did not have to toil hard to win points, Myagmartseren made things easy for the Indian by frequently hitting the shuttle wide and finding the net often. Sindhu won points in almost every serve and there was no rally in the match.

In the entire match, only three shuttles were used as Sindhu restrained herself from unleashing her trusted weapon - jump smash - as she conserved her energy for the big quarterfinal tie against Thailand, where she is likely to run into Pornpawee Chochuwong, who is ranked higher than the Indian at 12th and will lead the side with world no. 8 Ratchanon Intanon missing the Asian Games due to an injury.

This match will test Sindhu, who has struggled to find her killing form back since sustaining an ankle injury at the Commonwealth Games in August 2022.

After making her return to the World Tour in January this year, Sindhu suffered seven first-round exits and has not won any title this year. Her best performance - a runner-up finish at the Madrid Spain Masters - came five months back.

The Indian, however, will draw inspiration from her 6-3 upper hand against Chochuwong in the head-to-head record. Sindhu won her last two matches against the Thai shuttler in straight games. But both of those wins came when she was at her peak in 2021 and 2022.

Youngsters shine on debut

With Sindhu winning the opening match and giving India a 1-0 lead in the tie against Mongolia, youngster Ashmita Chaliha, the world no. 49, made her debut with an identical straight-game win (21-2, 21-3) over Kherlen Darkhanbaatar in 21 minutes.

Heading into the third match, Anupama Upadhyaya, another promising youngster in the Indian squad, delivered a near-perfect performance on her Asian Games debut. Anupama, the former world junior number one, won the opening game without conceding a point 21-0. While Anupama collected points with equal ease, deploying her deceptive and agile style of play, her opponent, Khulangoo Baatar, also made things easy for her by making too many unforced errors.

Anupama would eventually win the match 21-0, 21-2 in 22 minutes.

With the tie featuring three singles matches in order, the world no. 17 women's doubles duo of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand get another day of rest. They may get to test themselves against mighty Thailand on Friday morning.

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