Kunshan: The Indian women’s badminton team was assured of a second straight bronze medal in the Uber Cup as it moved past Thailand 3-1 to enter the semi-finals here on Thursday.
India, who lost to Japan in the 2014 edition in the semi-finals to settle for their maiden bronze medal, won before the fifth rubber despite their spearhead Saina Nehwal losing the first match.
World Championship 2015 runner-up Saina lost to world No.2 and former world champion Ratchanok Intanon 12-21, 19-21 in 41 minutes at the Kunshan Sports Centre. Ratchanok’s deception and guile proved to be difficult for Saina.
It was the 21-year-old Thai’s fifth win in 11 encounters against the 26-year-old Saina, bronze medallist in the 2012 Olympics.
(Also Read: Thomas Cup: India lose 2-3 to Thailand)
In the second singles match, double World Championship bronze medallist P.V. Sindhu brought India level 1-1 with a comprehensive 21-18, 21-7 triumph in 43 minutes over world No.21 Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
Experienced doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa gave India the 2-1 lead as they quelled the challenge of Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai 21-18, 21-16 in 39 minutes.
Later, world No.119 Ruthvika Shivani Gadde played out of her skin to shock No.25 Nitchaon Jindapol 21-18, 21-16 in 41 minutes to hand India the 3-1 victory.
In other quarter-finals of the day, South Korea defeated Indonesia 3-1, defending champions China got the better of Chinese Taipei 3-0 and Japan ended Denmark’s campaign with a 3-0 triumph.
In the semi-final on Friday, India face a tough task of beating two-time defending champions and record 13-time winners China.
In the Thomas Cup matches, Lee Chong Wei-led Malaysia thrashed Chinese Taipei 3-1, while Indonesia beat Hong Kong 3-1.