India women shuttlers lose to China, settle for bronze in Uber Cup

  • PTI, Kunshan, China
  • Updated: May 20, 2016 18:11 IST
Saina Nehwal reacts after a return against Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand during her women's quarter finals singles match in the Uber Cup in Kunshan, on May 19, 2016. (AFP)

The Indian women’s badminton 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 in Kunshan, China on Friday.

After top shuttlers Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu lost narrowly to their respective opponents in the two singles matches, Jwala Gutta and N Sikki Reddy also lost in the first doubles, ending India’s campaign.

The Indian eves had scripted history last year when they won a historic bronze in New Delhi and they repeated the feat at the Kunshan Sports Center Stadium.

The Indians had assured themselves a bronze after a 3-1 win over Thailand on Thursday and needed a magical performance to tame 13-time champions China at home, but the miracle wasn’t to be.

A lot was riding on Saina and Sindhu, but despite their best efforts they could not give India a winning start.

Starting the proceedings once again, Saina played out of her skin before losing 15-21, 21-12, 17-21 to Li Xuerui 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 at the 2012 Indonesia Open.

Coming into the match with a 4-5 head-to-head record against Shixian Wang, Sindhu lost 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 into the contest and caught up with the Indian at 20-20. But in the end it was the Chinese who had the last laugh.

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