Thomas and Uber Cup: Indian women win bronze after semis loss to 13-time champions China
Kunshan: Indian women's team settled for a bronze medal after suffering a 0-3 defeat at the hands of defending champions China in the semi-finals of the Uber Cup badminton championship on Friday.
After top shuttlers Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu went down narrowly against their respective opponents in the two singles match, Jwala Gutta and N Sikki Reddy also bit the dust in the first doubles, ending India's campaign.
Indian women had scripted history in the last edition when they won a historic bronze in New Delhi and they repeated the feat this time at Kunshan Sports Center Stadium.
The team, who assured themselves a bronze after 3-1 win over Thailand yesterday, needed a magical performance to tame 13-time champions China at home but unfortunately the miracle did not happen.
A lot was riding on Saina and Sindhu, being India's best shuttlers, but despite their best efforts they could not give
India a positive start.
Starting the proceedings once again, Saina played out of her skin before losing 15-21 21-12 17-21 in a thrilling match that lasted an hour and four minutes. It was her eighth successive loss to Li. The last time Saina had beaten the Olympic champion was in 2012 Indonesia Open.
Coming into the match with a 4-5 head-to-head record against Shixian Wang, Sindhu went full throttle before suffering a 13-21 21-23 in a 50-minute match. It was her fourth consecutive loss against the World No. 6.
Down 0-2 in the five-match rubber, Jwala and Sikki tried their best before capitulating 6-21 6-21 against Tian Qing
and Zhao Yunlei in 25 minutes.
Earlier, in the first singles, Saina blew a 10-6 lead in the opening game before entering the break with a slender 11-10 lead, which Li erased and eventually pocketed the game.
In the second game, Saina erased a 2-6 deficit early on to break off at 8-8 and then reeled off nine straight points to bounce back in style.
In the decider, the duo fought tooth and nail before the Chinese marched ahead from 13-13 to shut the door on Saina.
In the second singles, Sindhu was no match for Shixian in the opening game as the Chinese zoomed ahead from 3-3 and never looked back.
In the second game, Sindhu had a healthy 18-8 advantage but all of it vaporised as Shixian crafted her way back in the contest and caught up with the Indian at 20-20. But in the end it was the Chinese who had the last laugh.
Tokyo Olympics 2020: PV Sindhu's sincere encouragement left me in tears, reveals silver-medallist Tai Tzu Ying
Competing in her third Olympics, Tai Tzu finally stood atop the podium, finishing with a silver medal after going down to Chen Yu Fei of China 18-21 21-19 18-21 in the final on Sunday.
The soft-spoken Indian ace was not known for her aggression till five years back and it was chief national coach Pullela Gopichand, who had transformed her into an aggressive player ahead of the Rio Games.
The world number seven Indian will next play Hong Kong's world number 34 Cheung Ngan Yi in the group stage.