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India rout Indonesia to reach Uber Cup semi-finals

Last updated on: May 23, 2014 05:56 IST

P V SindhuThe Indian women's badminton team scripted history, entering the semi-finals of the Uber Cup tournament for the first time after a dominating 3-0 victory over Indonesia in the quarter-finals at the Siri Fort Sports complex, in Delhi, on Thursday.

With a place in the semi-finals, India is now assured of at least a maiden Uber Cup bronze medal.

Saina Nehwal led India's charge with a 21-17, 21-10 victory over Lindaweni Fanetri in 45 minutes, before P V Sindhu played out of her skin to eke out a hard-fought 21-16, 10-21, 25-23 victory over Bellaetrix Manuputty.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa then sealed the tie with a 21-18, 21-18 win over Polii Greysia and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari in the first doubles.

India will take on Japan in Friday's semi-finals.

The second singles turned out to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller as Sindhu and Manupatty fought a battle of attrition amid loud cheers from the fans, who chanted 'Sindhu, Sindhu'.

In the first game, Sindhu opened up a two-point lead early on and stretched it to 12-8 and 17-12. Even though the Indonesian tried to recover, the Indian won comfortably.

However, Manupatty came back strongly in the next as she led 11-7 at the break when Sindhu hit into the net. The Indonesian continued her run after the interval and surged to 18-9 in a jiffy to take the second game and roar back into the contest.

The decider was a roller-coaster ride as both players refused to concede an inch. Sindhu led 11-10 at the break, but soon Manupatty clawed her way back to 15-15 when the Indian hit wide. The scores ran neck and neck from 15-15 till the end.

There was little to choose between the two as their fierce battle left them drained. In the end, Manupatty was twice in a position to put it across the Indian but she failed on both occasions. Sindhu, after failing twice, converted the third match-point when Manupatty hit long.

Playing the first singles, Saina struggled a bit initially and trailed 5-11 at the break. However, the Indian then changed tactics and kept tossing the shuttle to the rear court and used angled drops and clever lifts to catch Lindaweni at the forecourt.

She snatched the lead with a brilliant dribble at the net to move to 17-16. Lindaweni again lost a couple of points in the forecourt and eventually hit wide to hand the first game to the Indian.

In the second, Saina continued in the same vein and led 11-4 at the breather when Lindaweni hit out after a rally which left a smile on the Indian's face. She remained calm, despite some miscued shots, and reached match point after winning a line review before Lindaweni found the net to hand the match to the Indian.

Second seeds Japan and former champions Korea also sailed into the last four of the Uber Cup with relative ease.

While Japan defeated Denmark 3-0, Korea bounced back after conceding the first singles to World champion Ratchanok Intanon to win 3-1 against Thailand.

In the Thomas Cup men's team championships, defending champions China spanked Thailand 3-0 to set up a semi-final clash with Japan, who survived a spirited performance from French skipper Brice Leverdez to win 3-1.

China are chasing a record sixth consecutive title.

Image: PV Sindhu