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.
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.
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
— 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.
— 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
— 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.