On Thursday, India beat Vietnam 3-0 to assure themselves a semifinal berth in the Thomas Cup Asian Zone qualifiers at Nakornratchasima, Thailand.
India will gain entry in the main event even if they lose in the semifinals and the third-place play-off. They have already topped Group C and will now lock horns with Korea, winners of Group D. According to the new rules, of the 12 slots, the last spot will be decided between the teams that finish fourth in Asia and Europe. The team that ranks higher on cumulative ranking points of their top-three singles and two doubles pairs will get a direct entry in finals.
If India beat Korea, they will qualify for the finals — to be played in Malaysia — for the first time since 2006. If they lose, they will still get through as they face Ukraine — the fourth-best in the European Team Championships — whose collective ranking points are half that of India’s.
The Indian women kept their hopes of a maiden Uber Cup finals alive, defeating the Philippines 5-0. They will now face Chinese Taipei on Friday, the toughest contender in the group. Coach Pullela Gopichand said, “We were expected to win today. The real challenge is to beat Chinese Taipei.”
If the women manage to pull it off, India could scrape through as the fourth Asian team even if they don’t win in the knockout stage. India are currently ahead on collective ranking points, thanks to a better doubles performance.