India enter quarters of Asian Junior badminton

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Jakarta, July 16 (IANS) Barring Lakshya Sen, none of the Indian could stand up to the clinical South Koreans as India went down 1-4 in their last Group C match in the Asian Junior Badminton Championships here on Sunday.

But, having finished second behind South Korea in the group, India entered the quarterfinals where they will take on Japan on Monday.

In contrast, the Indian juniors went through the motions against Sri Lanka in the morning and cleaned them up 5-0, stamping their subcontinental authority. They had on Saturday beaten Kazakhstan by the same margin in the opener.

India were expected to put up a semblance of fight against the third-seeded Koreans. But, unfortunately, the resistance came only in the form of Lakshya who revived India’s hope with straight sets win of 21-14, 21-13 against Kim Hyeong Jung in the men singles of the mixed team events.

Lakshya’s start was nice and he built on excellently with his strategy to keep his rival to the back court. And it paid dividends as the Indian not only used his smashes cleverly but also with his forecourt placings surprised the opponent. However hard the Korean tried to come back, he was unable to do as he hastened the defeat with several unforced errors.

But for this wonderful response, the other Indians didn’t have any auspicious beginning. The men doubles’ pair of Manjit Singh and Dingku Singh, who faced Ki Dong Ju Ki and Shin Tae Yang, in match opener could only run their opponents close but couldn’t stop them from winning the rubber 21-17, 21-11.

The Indians mixed well when the Koreans somewhat had a cautious beginning. Understandably, they were caught on the wrong foot at time and it helped the Indian shuttlers some leeway. Yet, the Koreans held the rein and nerves to put their team 1-0 ahead.

Akarshi Kashyap, the world No 11, began really against Park Ga Eun and stretched her before winning the first game 23-21. But the Korean girl packed a lot of power in her forehand shots which brooked little challenge in the second and third. Park, after dropping the first game, played brilliantly to win 21-23, 21-13, 21-9, the tie consuming 51 minutes.

Then Jang Eun Seo and Lee Eun Ji combined well and disposed off the Indian women doubles pair, Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker, 21-15, 21-9 in 26 minutes to assert themselves. Simram and Ritika could not match the game plan devised by their Korean rivals who were quick on their feet and complimented each other, managing the back and fore courts really well.

Having already established a winning lead of 3-1, one thought it should be a mere formality for the Korean mixed duo of Jeong Na Eun and Wang Chan but the Indians were not disgraces as Srishti Jupidi and Srikrishna Sai Kumar went down fighting the last rubber 13-21, 21-18, 21-23. That was, indeed, a gutsy performance from the mixed doubles team which kept the interest alive.



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