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Thomas Cup: India assured of at least a silver medal, beat Denmark in semifinal


The Indian men’s badminton team created history and assured themselves of a silver medal by beating Denmark 3-2 in the semifinal of the Thomas Cup in Bangkok on Friday. With the win, India have sealed their first-ever final appearance in the tournament. Victories by the doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy ensured India’s first-ever shot at a Thomas Cup gold.

After Lakshya Sen suffered a 21-13, 21-13 straight game defeat to Viktor Axelsen, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty got India its first win of the evening as the pair defeated Kim Astrup and Mathias Christiansen in a nerve-wracking three-game thriller. After securing Game 22-20, India seemed to be breezing through in the second, having taken a 20-17 lead, but a late comeback saw Denmark pair hold their nerves for a 23-21 win. Similar scenes unfolded in the deciding game but this time Reddy and Rankireddy did not stumble and sealed the game in a 1 hour 17 minute classic.

The onus was then on Kidambi Srikanth to carry on the good work, and he too played out a taxing game and defeated Anders Antonsen 21-18, 12-21 and 21-15.

In the fourth match, Indian pair of Vishnu Panjala and Krishna Garaga lost to the Danish pair of Ramussen and Sogaard by 14-21 and 13-21 as Denmark took it to the deciding singles match.

In the decider HS Prannoy battled an ankle injury suffered in the first game to beat Rasmus Gemke 13-21, 21-9, 21-. 

Prannoy was off colour in the first game. The ankle injury didn’t help him either as Gemke drove home the early advantage to draw first blood with an easy 21-13 win. 

The Indian, however, made a roaring comeback in the second game and took a 10-1 lead. Prannoy closed the game for 21-9. He began the third game in an even more attacking manner, taking a 4-0 lead. At the halfway mark Prannoy enjoyed a healthy 11-4 lead. In the end, the Indian held his nerve to win the game 21-12.

More to follow…

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