Alor Setar (Malaysia): Indian women shuttlers advanced to the Badminton Asia Team Championship quarterfinals despite a 1-4 loss to Japan in which P V Sindhu notched the country’s only win here on Thursday.
Sindhu extended her domination over world No.2 Akane Yamaguchi with a straight-game win. Despite the loss, India qualified for the quarter-final in both the women’s and men’s competition.
The Indian women finished second in Group W with one win and one loss ahead of Hong Kong China but behind Japan.
The Sindhu-led squad had defeated Hong Kong China 3-2 in its opening group tie. With a rampaging 5-0 wins over lower-ranked Philippines and Maldives, the Indian men’s team too has qualified for the quarter-finals from Group D.
The Indian men will now be up against mighty Indonesia in their last Group D tie later in the day. Taking the court first, Olympic silver-medallist Sindhu dished out a fine attacking performance to beat Yamaguchi 21- 19 21-15 in 36 minutes.
By virtue of this win, world No.4 Sindhu now enjoys a 5-3 head-to-head record against Yamaguchi.
However, Sindhu did not get enough support from her teammates as Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli was no match for world No.13 Sayaka Sato, losing the second singles 12-21 10-21 to help Japan draw level.
Doubles specialist Ashwini Ponnappa was then tamed 14-21 12-21 by world No.16 Aya Ohori in the third singles match as Japan took a 2-1 lead.
It was then left to the doubles specialists to bring India back into the tie but both the Indian pairs went down after a good fight.
The onus was on Sanyogita Ghorpade and Prajakta Sawant to draw parity for India but they lost 17-21 17-21 against Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto in the first doubles match to hand Japan an unassailable 3-1 lead.
The script turned out to be the same for India in the last inconsequential match of the tie as Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost 18-21 18-21 to Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi.