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Badminton

Badminton Asia Team C'ship: Indian women's team stun China, move to quarters

PV Sindhu, Treesa Jolly/Gayatri Gopichand, and youngster Anmol Kharb won as India topped Group W in the Badminton Asia Team C'ship.

Badminton Asia Team Cship: Indian womens team stun China, move to quarters
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By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 14 Feb 2024 7:12 AM GMT

Waking up at 6:30 am turned out worthwhile for Indian badminton fans when the women's team stunned top-seeded China in the group-stage clash of the Badminton Asia Team Championships on Wednesday.

The Indian women's badminton team defeated China 3-2 and topped the group to move to the tournament's quarter-finals.

Led by returning superstar PV Sindhu and a sensational 16-year-old Anmol Kharb, the Indian team returned from 1-2 down in the tie against the Chinese team.

PV Sindhu faced Han Yue in the first match of the tie and won the match without breaking much sweat in the straight games. She started the game with a 3-1 lead.

Sindhu was covering the court well and forced some errors from Han Yue to lead 11-8 in the interval.

Han Yue was struggling on the net and Sindhu kept playing her close to the net to force more errors. Sindhu won the first game 21-17 with rather ease despite Han taking some late points.

In the second game, World number eight Han Yue was cautious and stayed away from the net. She made Sindhu work for her points while forcing her wide.

At the interval, Han led 11-10 but PV Sindhu came back strong after the interval and used her winners to perfection. Han looked clueless as Sindhu won the second game 21-15 to give India a 1-0 lead.

The second game was a doubles match between Ashwini Ponnappa/Tanisha Crasto and Liu Sheng Shu/Tan Ning.

Coming against a higher-ranked opponent, Ashwini/Tanisha displayed a brilliant fight in both games but errors at crucial junctures in the game cost them the match.

In the first game, both pairs were tied at 19-19 but two consecutive shots on the net from the Indian pair resulted in losing the first game. Similarly in the second game, both pair were tied at 16-16 but the Chinese pair won 21-16 courtesy of unforced errors from the Indian pair.

The third match of the tie was an one-sided one as Wang Zhi Yi made light work of Indian youngster Ashmita Chaliha defeating her 21-13, 21-15 in straight games.

Entering a must-win situation in the fourth match of the tie, Indian pair Treesa Jolly/Gayatri Gopichand were up against Li Yi Jing and Luo Xu Min.

The Indian pair started poorly by conceding the first game 21-10 but made a fantastic comeback in the next two games.

Treesa/Gayatri dominated the second game as they started aggressively and went with an 11-4 lead at the interval. The Chinese pair tried to take some points later but the Indian pair won the game 21-17.

In the deciding game, the Indian pair kept their nerves and maintained their lead throughout the game to win 21-18 and make it 2-2.

India's hope rested on the shoulders of teenage sensation and national champion Anmol Kharb who was up against a higher-ranked opponent. Ranked 472 in the world, Anmol was up against world number 149 Wu Luo Yu.

Anmol played some brilliant badminton in the first game to win it 22-20 further raising the hopes of the Indian fans. Her deceptive shots earned plaudits from everyone including the commentators who said, "I have never seen someone overwhelming a Chinese player like this teenager."

Wu Luo came back stronger in the second game and won it 21-14 to make it even and force the decider.

The decider was a rollercoaster ride as the Chinese started with a lead of 6-3 and Anmol pulled some points to make it 9-9. Anmol started dominating and was leading 15-12 at one point but the Chinese shuttler pulled some points back to make it 18-18.

Egged by the vocal Indian bench, the 16-year-old kept her calm and scored a hattrick of points to make 21-18 and ensured that India enters the quarter-finals as the Group topper.

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