Thomas & Uber Cup badminton: India cruise to quarter-finals

India women defeated Scotland in the Uber Cup while the men beat Tahiti in the Thomas Cup to qualify for the knockouts.

By Aarish Ansari
Picture by Badmintonphoto | Courtesy of BWF

The men’s and women’s Indian badminton teams secured a quarter-finals berth at the Thomas and Uber Cup by registering convincing wins in their respective group-stage matches on Tuesday.

The Indian men sailed 5-0 over Tahiti in the Thomas Cup while the women prevailed 4-1 over Scotland in the Uber Cup.

The day started with the women’s team taking on the Scots without the presence of Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal.

The London 2012 bronze winner, Saina Nehwal was forced to retire in her opening match of the Uber Cup tie against Spain on Sunday. But the Indian shuttlers didn’t let the absence of their senior-most player affect the outcome on the court.

The young Indian side got off to a shaky start against Scotland, with Malvika Bansod falling to world No. 26 Kirsty Gilmour in the singles match. The 20-year-old Indian lost in straight games 21-13, 21-9.

However, India bounced right back as Aditi Bhatt levelled the score by prevailing 21-14, 21-8 over Rachel Sugden.

The doubles pairing of Tanisha Crasto and Rutaparna Panda then made it 2-1 by beating Julie Macpherson and Ciara Torrance 21-11, 21-8.

However, it was 16-year-old Tasnim Mir who stole the limelight and sealed the deal for India. The teenager, who came in place of injured Saina Nehwal, cruised to a 21-15, 21-6 victory over Lauren Middleton.

“I've never played such a big event… My first match I was nervous, a bit, but it went well. I managed to play a good game,” the world junior No. 4 Tasnim said.

India ended the tie against the Scots with another win to make it 4-1.

The duo of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand Pullela faced some resistance from the experienced pair of Kirsty Gilmour and Eleanor O'Donnell but eventually triumphed 21-8, 19-21, 21-10.

The top two teams from Group B – India and Thailand – will face off on Wednesday to determine the final positions.

Indian men in Thomas Cup quarters

Later in the day, the men’s team from India took little time to avert the challenge from Tahiti, completing a 5-0 clean sweep.

Tokyo Olympian B Sai Praneeth initiated the rout with a 21-5, 21-6 win over Louis Beaubois and Sameer Verma doubled the lead by beating Remi Rossi 21-12, 21-12.

Then, Kiran George, who came in place of Kidambi Srikanth, confirmed India’s place in the knockout rounds of the Thomas Cup, defeating Elias Maublanc 21-4, 21-2 in just 15 minutes.

The doubles pairs also faced little resistance from Tahiti, with Tokyo Olympians Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and the second Indian duo of Krishna Garaga and Vishnu Vardhan making it 5-0.

The win took India to the second spot in Group C. They will now face group leaders and defending champions China on Thursday.