The Indian badminton team sealed a place in the knockout stage of the Sudirman Cup mixed team championship, despite Indonesia pulling off a stunning 3-2 victory over Denmark in the last match of the Group 1D.
Ninth seeded India had kept themselves afloat for a quarterfinal spot after shocking fifth seeded Indonesia 4-1 in a thrilling match.
In the ‘Group of death’, all the three teams — India, Denmark and Indonesia won one of the two matches that they played but the first two teams qualified riding on their game score i.e the number of games won in favour and lost to from each match played in the league.
Denmark (6-4) topped the group, followed by India (5-5) and Indonesia (4-6) after the completion of the league stage.
India had managed to reach the knockout stage of the tournament only once during the 2011 edition, while in the last two editions they couldn’t even cross the group stage.
Despite India completing their league stage, fans were left on tenterhooks with Indonesia taking on Denmark.
The day unfolded like a bollywood thriller as Indonesian World No. 8 pair of Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto thrashed London Olympics bronze-medallist combo of Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen 21-12 21-13 in the mixed doubles competition.
The men’s singles was an anti-climax as Olympic bronze medallist Viktor Axelsen suffered a 21-13 17-21 14-21 loss to Anthony Sinisuka Gingting, giving Indonesia a 2-0 lead.
Former Olympic silver-medallists Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen then brought Denmark back in the contest with a thrilling 16-21 24-22 23-21 win over World No. 1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.
But Fitriani Fitriani sealed the match for Indonesia with a hard-fought 22-24 21-15 21-14 win over Mia Blichfeldt in a women’s singles match that lasted an hour and 16 minutes.
Though the women’s singles sealed Indonesia’s win over Denmark, their knockout fate still depended on the women’s doubles in the fifth match of the tie.
Olympic silver-medallists Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen then eked out a 21-18 13-21 21-13 win over Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu to reduce the margin of win to 2-3, thus clearing India’s way to the quarterfinal.