At the Thomas Cup, it was a memorable night for the Indian men’s badminton team as it entered the final of the competition with a 3-2 win over Denmark in thrilling semi-final. This is India’s first entry into the final of one of the most revered team competitions in world badminton. HS Prannoy was the star of the show as he clinched the deciding fifth rubber to take India to victory against Denmark. Even in the quarter-final against Malaysia, the 29-year-old Prannoy had clinched the deciding fifth rubber.
Facing world no. 13 Rasmus Gemke, Prannoy suffered an ankle injury after slipping on the front court while going for a return but the Indian continued after taking a medical timeout.
He looked in pain and his on-court movement also looked restricted but despite all odds, he produced a sensational performance to come up trumps 13-21, 21-9, 21-12 to etch India’s name in the history books.
Watch: The moment Prannoy beat Gemke
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After the final match, Prannoy was mobbed by teammates as he was giving an interview in the mixed zone. He was flooded with emotions.
Watch: Prannoy and Indian badminton team break into celebration
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It was a creditable performance from the Indian team, which on Thursday had snapped a 43-year long wait by reaching the semifinals with a 3-2 win over five-time champions Malaysia, a feat last achieved in 1979.
It was always going to be an uphill task for India to tame the formidable Denmark, which had become the first European country in history to secure the title in 2016.
A lot rode on world championship bronze medallist Lakshya Sen, given his recent win over Viktor Axelsen at the German Open Super 300 but he couldn’t replicate his performance as the world number one scripted a comfortable 13-21, 13-21 win to hand Denmark a 1-0 lead.
Denmark decided to split their world number 9 pair of Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen into two halves with Astrup partnering Mathias Christiansen in the first doubles.
However, Rankireddy and Shetty dished out a gritty performance, holding their nerves in the final stages to beat Astrup and Christiansen 21-18, 21-23, 22-20 to bring India back in the contest.
With the tie locked 1-1, world number 11 Srikanth and world number 3 Anders Antonsen engaged in a battle of supremacy in the second singles with the former coming out on top with a gritty 21-18, 12-21, 21-15 result to give India a 2-1 lead.
India’s second doubles combination of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala, however, was no match for Anders Skaarup Rasmussen and Frederik Sogaard, losing 14-21, 13-21 as the tie was tentatively posed at 2-2 after the fourth match.
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