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A fighting India went down to hosts South Korea 1-3 in the women’s team badminton semifinals to settle for their maiden bronze medal at the Asian Games here on Sunday. This was India’s first medal in badminton since the team bronze won by the men in Seoul, 1986.
The country’s women had to be satisfied with their first-ever medal in Asian Games history after seven bronze medals won by men. India’s No. 1 shuttler, Saina Nehwal pulled off a great victory in three tough games against Korean world no. 4 Sung Jihyun 21-12, 10-21, 21-9 in the opening match that lasted for 56 minutes. But thereafter, the Indians lost their next three matches to go down to a formidable opponents.
P V Sindhu fought tooth and nail before losing in a 79-minute thriller to the host country’s left-handed world no. 6 Bae Yeonju 21-14 18-21 21-13 that levelled the tie 1-1.
Lack of depth
Again the lack of depth in the Indian squad came to bite them as Korean pair of Kim Soyeong and Chang Yena won the first doubles against the Indian duo of Pradnya Gadre and N Sikki Reddy in straight games 16-21 17-21, and then Korea’s Kim Hyomin smashed P C Thulasi 21-12 21-18 to settle the issue in the hosts’ favour.
India along with other losing semifinalist Japan (who lost to title favourites China 1-3) automatically gained the bronze. India started off with a bang as world no. 7 Saina really took off after a close first 10 points by reeling off 11 straight points from 12-all to win the opening game in 18 minutes.
She started with a 1-0 lead in the second before the Korean got her first point. A strong drift from one side of the court suddenly started effecting Saina’s game and she began to commit errors and quickly fell behind 9-17 in the second game that she lost.