Alor Setar (Malaysia): Olympic silver- medallist PV Sindhu led the women’s team to a thrilling 3-2 win over Hong Kong as India made a positive start in the Asia Team Championship .
With London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal pulling out of the tournament citing a groin injury, Sindhu proved her mettle as she first claimed the singles match and then combined with N Sikki Reddy to win the doubles match.
Sindhu recovered quickly from her heartbreaking loss in the final of India Open last Sunday to beat Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin 21-12 21-18 in the first singles.
Ashwini Ponnappa and Prajakta Sawant then played their heart out before losing 22-20, 20-22, 10-21 to Ng Wing Yung and Yeung Nga Ting in a 52-minute first women’s doubles clash.
Young Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli took the court against Cheung Ying Mei but her gallant fight ended with a 19-21 21-18 20-22 loss in the second singles as India trailed 1-2 after three of the five-match tie.
Sindhu then combined with Sikki and notched up a 21-15, 15-21, 21-14 win over Ng Tsz Yau and Yuen Sin Ying to equalise.
It eventually came down to the third singles and Ruthvika Shivani Gadde recovered from a game down to outwit Yeung Sum Yee 16-21, 21-16, 21-13 to earn India the crucial win.
The Asia Team championship is also a qualifier for the Uber Cup Final with the semifinalists earning the right to play in Bangkok in May.
India will take on a formidable Japan, who boast of world No.2 Akane Yamaguchi and reigning world champion Nozomi Okuhara.