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From Amiril Muttaqien Meketar
BANGKOK, May 13 (Bernama) -- India are just one step away from winning their maiden Thomas Cup after scoring an upset 3-2 win over 2016 champions Denmark in the last four here today.
With both teams level at 2-2, Prannoy H.S., who was fielded at third singles, emerged as the hero for India when he bounced back from a first-game defeat to down Rasmus Gemke 13-21, 21-9, 21-12.
The dramatic win over the Valkyries means India have now reached their first-ever Thomas Cup final in the 73-year-history of the prestigious team tournament.
India began the tie against Denmark on a losing note when their top singles player, Lakshya Sen was brushed aside 13-21, 13-21 by world number one Viktor Axelsen.
However, their first doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty proved their mettle once again to level the tie at 1-1 when they edged Kim Astrup-Mathias Christiansen 21-18, 21-23, 22-20 in a pulsating match.
India then led the tie for the first time when their second singles, Kidambi Srikanth fought neck-and-neck with Anders Antonsen before prevailing 21-18, 12-21, 21-15.
The enthralling tie then took another twist as the Danes squared things up at 2-2 when Anders Skaarup Rasmussen-Frederik Sogaard powered past Krishna Prasad Garaga-Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala for a 21-14, 21-13 win.
Then came Prannoy’s heroics, which culminated with his teammates and team officials spilling onto the court to celebrate his win over Gemke - and their place in Sunday’s (May 15) final.
India will take on Indonesia in the title showdown after the defending champions disposed of 2014 champions Japan 3-2 in another absorbing semi-final tie.
Red-hot favourites Indonesia pounced early after their first singles Anthony Sinisuka Ginting worked his socks off for 81 minutes to tame an off-form Kento Momota 21-12, 14-21, 21-12.
Mohammad Ahsan-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo then made it 2-0 for Indonesia in first doubles. But the Indonesians had to dig deep into their reserves to overcome reigning world champions Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi 22-20, 8-21, 24-22.
With Indonesia needing just one more point to seal victory, Kenta Nishimoto sparked a Japanese fightback as he swept past Jonatan Christie 22-20, 21-13 in the second singles to narrow the gap to 2-1.
Inspired by Nishimoto’s feat, Akira Koga-Yuta Watanabe gave it their everything in second doubles to see off Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto 21-14, 13-21, 21-18.
That set the stage for a do-or-die battle in third singles between Shesar Hiren Rhustavito and Japan’s Kodai Naraoki, with the Indonesian prevailing 21-17, 21-11 in 44 minutes.
In the Uber Cup competition, 15-time champions China, who are also the defending champions, checked into the final with a 3-0 win over Thailand today.
In Saturday’s (May 14) final, China will take on South Korea, who scored an upset by beating 2020 runners-up Japan 3-0 in the other semi-final tie.
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