Indian Men’s Team Creates History to Reach Maiden Thomas Cup Final

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Teammates rush to the court after HS Prannoy scores the winning point to give India a 3-2 victory against Denmark in the 2022 Thomas Cup semi-final. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)
Teammates rush to the court after HS Prannoy scores the winning point to give India a 3-2 victory against Denmark in the 2022 Thomas Cup semi-final. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)

Bangkok: The Indian shuttlers were in disbelief momentarily before storming the court to celebrate after World No. 23 HS Prannoy beat World No. 13 Rasmus Gemke of Denmark in the third men’s singles match on Friday, thus, sending India to the Thomas Cup final for the first time with a 3-2 victory over Denmark.

In the first men’s singles match, India’s 2021 World Championships bronze medalist Lakshya Sen couldn’t replicate his victory over World No. 1, Viktor Axelsen, at the 2022 German Open as the Dane created an easy 21-13, 21-13 win to give Denmark a 1-0 lead.

India’s World No. 8 Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty then fended off a spirited comeback attempt by Kim Astrup/Mathias Christiansen in the first men’s doubles match to level the overall score at 1-1 and bring India back in the competition with a 21-18, 21-23, 22-20 win.

After dropping the second game, the current World No. 11 and former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth seemed to have found his groove to dish out a gritty performance by beating World No. 3 Anders Antonsen of Denmark 21-18, 12-21, 21-15 and to give India a 2-1 lead.

Anders Skaarup Rasmussen/Frederik Søgaard of Denmark made it 2-2 when they beat Krishna Prasad Garaga/Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala 21-14, 21-13 in the second men’s doubles match.

In the third men’s singles match, Prannoy went down 13-21 in the first game but came back to win the second 21-9 and the deciding game 21-12 to send India into its first ever Thomas Cup final.

“Mentally, there were a lot of things going on in my head. I kept telling myself to not give up, just try and see how it goes,” said Prannoy.

“I was praying the pain doesn’t get aggravated after the slip in the first set. Fortunately, it’s not that painful in the second and third game,” added Prannoy.

“The strategy for the second and third game was to keep the pressure on and I told myself to stay in there and to try to score one point at a time, and it worked,” explained Prannoy.

India will play defending champions – Indonesia on Sunday.

The Thomas Cup semi-final tie between Indonesia and Japan also had lots of drama and it went down to the wire before Shesar Hiren Rhustavito clinched victory in the deciding third men’s singles match by seeing off Kodai Naraoka 21-17, 21-11 to give Indonesia a 3-2 win over Japan.

As for the Uber Cup, both China and Korea eased past their respective opponents in the semi-finals to set up a final clash on Saturday.

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