Photo credit: Tang Shi
There were lots of interesting clashes in today’s quarter finals at the team event of the Asian Games in Jakarta. India’s World Championship silver medalist, P. V. Sindhu, played double against Japan in India’s tie with the Uber Cup winners from May 2018.
And Sindhu had a good start of the day as she played the first women’s single against Akane Yamaguchi. The two are ranked 3 and 2 in the world and Sindhu had a 7-4 lead head-to-head before today’s match. And it didn’t take more than 41 minutes to increase this statistics for the Indian shuttler. Pusarla V. Sindhu brought her country to a 1-0 lead against Japan after winning 21-18 21-29 against Akane Yamaguchi.
Up next was women’s double with Sikki Reddy and Arathi Sara on the Indian side against Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota from Japan. The two Japanese are runners-up from the recent World Championships in Nanjing and they also proved much too strong for Reddy and Sara. With 21-15 21-6 Fukushima and Hirota easily equalized the tie to 1-1.
Then followed the longest match of the day, Saina Nehwal against Nozomi Okuhara, in second women’s single. Nehwal had a 6-2 head-to-head lead before today but it was the Japanese shuttler who started off best and won first game 21-11. Saina Nehwal fought back though and forced the match into three games after winning 25-23 in second. Here Okuhara drew the longest straw and brought her country on a 2-1 lead after 1 hour and 11 minutes as she took third game 21-16.
It’s not often we get to see single players in doubles but this was exactly what happened today as Pusarla V. Sindhu was set to play second women’s double for India together with Ashwini Ponnappa. The two were up against strong opponents in reigning Olympic Champions, Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi. And to be honest, there was not a lot to do for the Indian duo. Matsutomo and Takahashi won fairly easily with 21-13 21-12 and thus decided the tie in Japan’s favor. 3-1 for the Uber Cup winners who are ready for the semifinal tomorrow.
Thailand vs. Chinese Taipei
Women’s single world no. 1, Tai Tzu Ying from Chinese Taipei, was up against her Thai nemesis, Ratchanok Intanon, in their countries’ quarterfinal tie today. It was the 22nd clash between the two shuttlers with each an amazing technique – Ratchanok has an 11-10 head-to-head lead before today’s match.
The two played two very tight games before the winner was found after third game. Ratchanok won first game 22-20, Tai took second 21-19. In third game the Thai blew past Tai and gave her country a 1-0 lead with 21-13 in the decisive game.
Another close match followed in women’s double when Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai increased the Thai lead to 2-0 after 22-20 19-21 21-12 against Wu Ti-jung and Hsu Ya-ching. Finally Nitchaon Jindapol had the honor of securing Thailand’s entry to the semifinals with a win in straight games against Pai Yu-po. Jindapol won the deciding match 21-18 21-16.
Indonesia vs. Korea
The host nation was once again on court today and once again 19-year old Gregoria Mariska Tunjung was leading her team in the tie with Korea. The young Indonesian shuttler was up against more experienced Sung Ji Hyun and we needed three games before we found a winner.
Tunjung started off very well with rallies so tough for Sung that the Korean couldn’t prevent a first game loss of 13-21. In second game however, Sung speeded up and won 21-8, forcing the match into three games. This decisive game was much more tight than the two previous ones and finally it was Indonesia who could celebrate as Gregoria won her second match for the host nation with 21-18.
Then followed women’s double with Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu against Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan. This was a very close match, however, the Indonesians still managed to win in straight games. 21-18 21-17 and 2-0 for Indonesia.
Fitriani now had the chance to close the match but Lee Se Yeon proved too strong today. The Korean girl played very fast and Fitriani couldn’t follow her opponent. After three games and 21-14 8-21 21-12 for Yeon, Korean had brought a little excitement back into the tie.
Fourth match of the tie was between Rizki Amelia Pradipta/Della Destiara Haris and Kim Hyerin/Baek Ha Na and it was a match where the two Indonesians had control of the game more or less all the way. With 21-19 21-15 they managed to give Indonesia the deciding third win in the tie and the hosts are now ready for the semifinals tomorrow.
In the last quarterfinal in the women’s team event China won 3-0 without problems against the Maldives and they will play Thailand in tomorrow’s semifinals while host nation Indonesia takes on Japan.
Chinese Taipei-Thailand 0-3