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Indian men's badminton team enters maiden Asiad finals
Asian Games
Image Credit: twitter.com/WeAreTeamIndia

Indian men's badminton team enters maiden Asiad finals

| @indiablooms | 01 Oct 2023, 12:00 am

Hangzhou/UNI: The Indian men's team entered their maiden final in the Asian Games badminton with a 3-2 win over South Korea in the semifinals here on Saturday.

HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen, and Kidambi Srikanth won their matches to help India book a date in the final against the hosts China on Sunday.

The onus was on former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth to put India into the final after the tie ended 2-2 after four sets. World championships medallists Prannoy and Lakshya put India in the hunt with the much-needed victories in their respective matches.

The Chirag Shetty-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Dhruv Kapila-MR Arjun combos failed to register wins in their respective matches.

India will be going into the final against China after clinching the Thomas Cup and boasting of having excelled in pressure situation matches.

Prannoy got off India to a kicker with an 18-21, 21-16, 21-19 victory over South Korea's Hyeokjin Jeon.

Prannoy, a bronze medal winner at this year’s BWF world championships and India’s top-ranked player at world No. 7, came back from a game down against the world No. 47 Korean.

India’s men’s doubles pair of Chirag and Satwiksairaj stepped onto the badminton court next to build on India’s initial lead.

However, the world No. 3 pair was handed a setback as Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae, the world champions who are ranked one place below the Indians, clinched the match 21-13, 26-24.

Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya, world No. 14, restored India’s slender lead with a comfortable 21-9, 21-8 win over world No. 119 Yun Gyu Lee.

However, South Korea erased India’s advantage after the men’s doubles pair of Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun, 42nd in the badminton rankings, lost to the world No. 49 duo of Wonho Kim and NA Sungseung 21-16, 21-11.

World No. 21 Kidambi Srikanth, who has not had the best of 2023 so far, shouldered the responsibility in the do-or-die contest and delivered the result for India with a 12-21, 21-16, 21-14 win over world No. 163 Geonyeop Cho.

As semifinalists in badminton events at the Asian Games won bronze, the Indian men’s team was already assured of a medal with a 3-0 win over Nepal in the quarter-finals.

India last won a men’s team medal at the Asian Games 37 years ago. The squad, led by Syed Modi, clinched bronze at Seoul 1986.

The badminton team events at Hangzhou 2023 will continue till October 1. The singles, doubles and mixed doubles events will start from October 2.

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