Sat, 02 Dec 2023

Hangzhou [China], September 30 (ANI): The Indian men's badminton team on Saturday created history by defeating South Korea 3-2 in an exhilarating semifinal to enter the team events final for the first time at the Asian Games.

A gritty comeback by Kidambi Srikanth ensured that India will take on China in the gold medal match.

India were assured of a medal in this event and now they will aim for gold as they face China.

India got off to a flier, courtesy, Indian paddler HS Prannoy who took on South Korea's Hyeokjin Jeon. The world championships bronze medallist was pretty deceptive in his approach and he scripted a fine comeback win of 18-21, 21-16, 21-19 against Hyeokjin Jeon.

In the second match of the semis tie, the star paddlers Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty suffered defeat against the world champions pair Seungjae Seo and Minhyuk Kang.

Right from the start, the Korean pair of Seungjae Seo and Minhyuk Kang turned up the heat. Seo with a couple of top-notch smashes gave his team a 9-4 lead.

The World Champion pair of Seo and Kang took advantage of some unforced errors and won the first game 21-13. Shetty and Rankireddy gave it their all but they were up against the world champions. The second game of the match was neck-to-neck as both pairs played aggressive shots to give advantage to their team.

The Korean pair took the game 26-24 and won the match in straight games to pull their team right back into the tie, levelling the score with India 1-1.

Lakshya Sen locked horns with Lee Yungyu of South Korea in the third match of the men's team semifinals. With a good mix of attack and defense Sen defeated the South Korean Lee Yungyu 21-7, 21-9.

In the third match of the tie, the Koreans Kim Wonho and Na Sungseung looked more settled at the game's halfway mark against the Indian pair of Arjun Madathil Ramachandran and Dhruv Kapila.

The Indian pair tried to make a comeback into the game as they were engaged in more rallies. Korea relied on the same tactic of a shuttle close to the body of the Indian pair who later succumbed to the constant pressure exerted on them.

Madathil and Kapila lost 16-21, 11-21.

Kidambi Srikanth lived up to the expectations of many in the semifinal's deciding match as he scripted an epic comeback against Geonyeop Cho 12-21, 21-16, 21-14 to ensure India a berth in the gold medal match.

It was a shaky start for India but they managed to claw back into the game and will have a chance to win their first-ever gold in this event. (ANI)

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