Thomas Cup: India’s route to historic gold medal

India won their first-ever Thomas Cup trophy by beating Indonesia on Sunday.

India created history when the men’s badminton team clinched its maiden Thomas Cup trophy on Sunday with a dominant 3-0 win over 14-time champions Indonesia in the final at Bangkok on Sunday.

This was India’s first-ever final at the Thomas Cup. Their previous best at the tournament was a bronze in 1979, 1955 and 1952, but this is the first time that the team has won a medal at the event since the change in the format.

Let’s take a look at how the route to history was charted at the Impact Arena by the Indian men’s team.

Group stage

India were placed in Group C which also included Chinese Taipei, Germany and Canada. India entered the tournament with a strong squad that comprises World Championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen, World Championships silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy and Priyanshu Rajawat as singles players. Doubles include pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila and Krishna Prasad and Vishnuvardhan Goud.

India 5-0 Germany

India blanked Germany 5-0 in their first group tie.

Lakshya Sen started with an easy 21-16, 21-13 win over Max Weisskirchen. The doubles pair of Satwiksairaj and Chirag were troubled by Jones Ralfy Jansen and Marvin Seidel but won 21-15, 10-21, 21-13. World no 11 Srikanth secured an 18-21, 21-9, 21-11 win over Kai Schafer.

Arjun and Dhruv Kapila defeated Bjarne Geiss and Jan Colin Voelker 25-23, 21-15, while world no 23 Prannoy clinched a 21-9, 21-9 win over Matthias Kicklitz.

India 5-0 Canada

India defeated Canada and booked their spot in the knockout stage.

Lakshya Sen was rested for this tie. Srikanth won the first match by fighting back from a game down to beat Brian Yang 20-22, 21-11, 21-15. The doubles pair of Satwiksairaj and Chirag beat Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Kevin Lee 21-12, 21-22, before Prannoy won against BR Sankeerth 21-15, 21-12 to clinch the tie.

Krishna Prasad and Vishnuvardhan defeated Dong Adam and Nyl Yakura 21-15, 21-11. And Priyanshu Rajawat won the last match against Victor Lal 21-13, 20-22, 21-14.

India 2-3 Chinese Taipei 

India lost out on the top spot in the group stage after losing to Chinese Taipei.

Lakshya Sen lost to world no 4 Chou Tien Chen 21-19, 13-21, 21-17 in the first match. Satwiksairaj and Chirag succumbed to world no 3 pairing of Lee Yang and Chi-Lin Wang 21-11, 21-19.

Srikanth pulled back things by beating Tzu Wei Wang 21-19, 21-16, but Arjun and Dhruv Kapila’s defeat to Lu Ching Yao and Po Han Yang by 21-17, 19-21, 21-19 gave the opposition the tie. Prannoy won the dead rubber against Lu Chia Hung 21-18, 17-21, 21-18.

Quarter-finals

India 3-2 Malaysia

Lakshya Sen lost the opening match to world No 6 Lee Zii Jia 23-21, 21-9. But Satwiksairaj and Chirag helped India level the score with a win over Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin by 21-19, 21-15. Srikanth put India 2-1 ahead with a 21-11, 21-17 victory over NG Tze Yong.

Krishna Prasad and Vishnuvardhan’s 19-21, 17-21 loss to Aaron Chia and Teo Ee Yi helped Malaysia make a comeback before Prannoy clinched the tie for India with a historic 21-13, 21-8 win over Leong Jun Hao.

By beating Malaysia, India secured a medal at the Thomas Cup for the first time in 43 years and also their first at the event since the change of format.

Semi-finals

India 3-2 Denmark

World number one Viktor Axelsen gave Denmark a 1-0 lead with a comfortable 21-13, 21-13 win over Lakshya Sen. However, India were quick to turn things around. Satwiksairaj and Chirag beat Astrup and Christiansen 21-18, 21-23, 22-20 in a three-game contest to level things before Srikanth made it 2-1 with a 21-18, 12-21, 21-15 win over world number 3 Anders Antonsen.

Krishna Prasad and Vishnuvardhan, however, lost to Anders Skaarup Rasmussen and Frederik Sogaard 14-21, 13-21. At 2-2, it all came down to Prannoy’s match vs Rasmus Gemke. The Indian lost the first game 13-21 but despite suffering an ankle injury during the match the veteran mounted a memorable comeback to win the next two games 21-9, 21-12 to make history for India as they reached their first-ever Thomas Cup final!

Final

India 3-0 Indonesia

Lakshya Sen gave India a 1-0 lead with a come-from-behind 8-21, 21-17, 21-16 win over world number five Anthony Sinisuka Ginting.

In the second match, India’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty saved four match points in the second game to eventually beat Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 18-21, 23-21, 21-19.

Kidambi Srikanth got better of Asian games gold medallist Jonatan Christie 21-15, 23-21 in 48 minutes to script history for India as they won the final 3-0.

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India script Thomas Cup history, beat Denmark 3-2 in thriller to reach maiden final

Thomas Cup 2022: Kidambi Srikanth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty and HS Prannoy delivered wins as India stunned Denmark to reach their first-ever final in the prestigious team tournament in Bangkok on May 13.

Satwiksairaj Rankiredy and Chirag Shetty delivered a crucial win for India in their 3-2 victory over Denmark on Friday (AFP Photo)

India reached their first-ever Thomas Cup final in the 73-year-history of the prestigious team tournament on Friday, May 13. The Asian side stunned 2016 champions Denmark 3-2 in an exhilarating tie that delighted badminton fans at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

MISSION🏅

Dream of a billion plus just came true. Absolute champion stuff from our boys as they became the first ever 🇮🇳team to advance into the 𝙁𝙄𝙉𝘼𝙇S of #ThomasCup

Kudos to entire coaching team & support staffs. Take a bow👏@himantabiswa#ThomasCup2022#IndiaontheRise pic.twitter.com/cGdeFJIZD7

— BAI Media (@BAI_Media) May 13, 2022

World Championships silver medalist Kidambi Srikanth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty and HS Prannoy were among the ones who came up with victories for India in the pulsating Thomas Cup semi-final tie against Denmark. Leader of the pack Srikanth has had a perfect record at Thomas Cup 2022, winning all 5 of his matches so far while Prannoy has delivered twice in must-win situations.

India retained the same line-up from Thursday’s quarter-final win and it worked for them as they won two singles ties to outclass Denmark, bronze medalists from the previous edition.

On Thursday, India had secured their first-ever medal by reaching their first semi-final since 1979. They had defeated Malaysia 3-2 to reach the last 4. On Friday, the men from India went one step further and are assured of at least a silver medal.

India’s 🇮🇳 biggest moment in team #badminton has arrived 🏸 @BAI_Media #ThomasUberCups @bangkok2022 https://t.co/qoriXXv7v6

— BWF (@bwfmedia) May 14, 2022

India women, who have won two bronze medals (in 2014 and 2016) in the Uber Cup, failed to medal in the ongoing edition, crashing out in the quarter-final with a 0-3 defeat to hosts Thailand.

However, there was no let-up in energy and grit from the men’s team as they took the Danish stars head-on on Friday. The spirit and energy that was evident when they celebrated the historic win over Malaysia were carried forward to the court on Friday.

HS PRANNOY SHINES IN DECIDER, AGAIN

How good is this? India 🇮🇳 has made it to their first ever Thomas Cup 🏆 final. @BAI_Media#ThomasUberCups #Bangkok2022 pic.twitter.com/wPM1rra7W4

— BWF (@bwfmedia) May 13, 2022

Like Thursday, India came back from behind and scripted a 3-2 win over Denmark. India’s win also ended Denmark’s streak of winning medals at the Thomas Cup for 2 successive editions. Denmark had come back from behind twice earlier in the tournament, including their semi-final win over Korea, but India did not allow Denmark to complete a comeback from 1-2 down.

Like Thursday, it was HS Prannoy who came out all guns firing in the deciding match, the final singles contest of the tie. The World No. 23 went down in the opening game to World No. 13 Rasmus Gemke 13-21.

However, Prannoy, who has been vocal about the team spirit in the Indian contingent, pulled off a special effort to beat Gemke 13-21, 21-9, 21-12 to help India script history.

As expected, Prannoy let out a huge roar of victory as India celebrated one of the biggest moments in their badminton history. Prannoy’s teammates rushed on the court as the fans at the Impact Arena cheered on the victorious Indian team.

It did not begin well for India as Lakshya Sen, India’s highest-ranked men’s singles shuttler, lost to reigning Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen in straight games (13-21, 13-21) in 49 minutes.

However, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, India’s top-ranked doubles pairing, won the first doubles match of the tie to make 1-1. It was then Srikanth’s turn to face World No. 4 and former All England champion Anders Antonsen.

The in-form Indian shuttler, the winner of the world championship silver medal, held his nerves and completed a 21-18 12-21 21-15 win over Antonsen in a hard-fought battle that extended to an hour and 20 minutes.

India will take 14-time champions and holders Indonesia in the final on Sunday, May 15.

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