Thailand :Indian men's team edged past Japan to settle for the third place in Thomas Cup qualifiers, while the women shuttlers remained in the hunt for a place in the Uber Cup main draw despite losing the qualifying semis in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
The men's team, which has already qualified for the finals of the Thomas Cup Championship in Malaysia, survived some tense moments today before beating Japan in the third place play-off.
World number 15 Chetan Anand gave India a perfect start as he saw off Sho Sasaki 21-16 23-21 in the first singles.
The experienced doubles pair of Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar then made it 2-0 with a 21-19 18-21 21-15 victory over
Hashimoto Hirokatsu and Hirata Noriyasu in the second match. However, Yamada Kazushi beat Arvind Bhatt 21-15 14-21 21-7 in a 46-minute clash to reduce the margin.
Kazuno Kenta and Hayakawa Kenichi then joined the party and the duo eked out a 17-21 21-16 21-19 win over V Diju and Akshay Dewalkar to draw parity and bring Japan back into the tie.
With the encounter locked at 2-2, Anup Sridhar showed his mettle and defeated Sato Shoji 21-7 19-21 24-22 to the delight of the Indian camp.
"It is an achievement to finish 3rd. It feels really special. We defeated Japan today and it shows that beating Thailand was no fluke and we deserve to be the number third team," Arvind told reporters from Nakhon Ratchasima.
"Anup played brilliantly today, escpecially in the third game. The result could have been better if I had won my match but I twisted my ankle a bit so couldn't play properly," said the Bangalorean, who will be back to India tomorrow.
However, the women's team had a torrid time against formidable Indonesia as they lost 0-3 in the crucial semifinal tie today.
The eves will next take on Japan for a third place play off tomorrow and if the Indians win, they will be through to the main tournament.
In case the Indians lose, the players will have to hope that their rankings are better then European Zone qualifiers' fourth-place finisher The Netherlands in the next updated list for a place in the Uber Cup main draw.
Invincible till now, ace shuttler Saina Nehwal had a bad day in office as she couldn't get past world number 22 Adriyanti Firdasari and lost 16-21 15-21 inside half an hour in the first singles.
Aparna Balan and Shruti Kurian also failed to overcome Polii Greysia and Maheswari Nitya Krishinda and lost 16-21 15-21 in 29 minutes.
With India trailing 0-2, a lot depended on yesterday's star Sayali Gokhale but the former national champion's gallant fight didn't count for much as she lost 22-24 12-21 to Yulianti Maria Kristin to concede an unassailable 3-0 lead to Indonesia.
"We had a bad day in office today but we are confident of beating Japan tomorrow as we have already played against them. If we win we would be through to the Uber Cup finals," Saina told reporters.
"But even if we lose we have a chance as right now we are 4500 points ahead of Netherlands, which is in the fourth place in Europe zone qualifier. So in case we lose, the points and March 3 rankings will be taken into consideration," she said.