Indian team bows out of Uber Cup after being blanked 0-5 by Japan

India had won two bronze medals in the last edition, but the team, without top shuttlers P.V. Sindhu and Ashwini Ponnappa, was no match for the top seed.

Saina Nehwal seemed extremely fit and dominated the match before a series of unforced errors in the fag end saw her blow away four match points.   -  Getty Images

Saina Nehwal squandered four match points in her singles tie as a young Indian women's team bowed out of the Uber Cup Final after being hammered 0-5 by five-time champion Japan in Group A in Bangkok on Wednesday.

India had won two bronze medals in the last edition, but the team, without top shuttlers P.V. Sindhu and Ashwini Ponnappa, was no match for the top seed.

Nehwal seemed extremely fit and dominated her match before a series of unforced errors at the fag end saw her lose 19-21, 21-9, 20-22 to world No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi in the opening match.

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The doubles pair of Sanyogita Ghorpade and Prajakta Sawant then lost 15-21, 6-21 to world No. 4 Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo.

Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka had the tall task of taming world champion Nozomi Okuhara, but the young shuttler lost 10-21, 13-21 in just 26 minutes as Japan took the match away from India.

In the fourth match, Vaishnavi Bhale and Meghana Jakkampudi went down 8-21, 17-21, while Aruna Prabhudesai lost 12-21, 7-21 to end the proceedings.

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In the opening match, Nehwal and Yamaguchi probed the four corners of the court with their crosscourt returns in the first game. The drift also posed problems, but the Japanese player showed better control to zoom to an 11-7 lead at the break.

Nehwal showed tremendous grit to fight back from 9-16 down to narrow the difference, but lost the game 19-21. She got a few points with her measured returns at the back line. However, a deceptive return of serve sealed it for Yamaguchi.

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Nehwal's momentum carried over into the second game as he move to an 11-6 lead. The Indian’s good shot selection helped her construct rallies and cover the court well. Such was her dominance that the Japanese could only add three more points after the break. In the end, it was another crosscourt smash that left Yamaguchi stranded and took the match to the decider.

Nehwal showed good tactical acumen and backed it up with her strokes to lead 9-5, but Yamaguchi soon made it 8-10. A nicely placed shot gave her the lead at the interval.

Nehwal blunted Yamaguchi’s strokes with her great defence to move to 15-11. She played some superb late net strokes to bamboozle the Japanese. Yamaguchi managed to make it 16-18 before a long shot and an error at the net from Yamaguchi gave four match points to Nehwal.

The Japanese saved all four as the Indian sent the shuttle wide. Another long shot by Nehwal gave Yamaguchi match point, and she sealed it with a smash.

Earlier, the Indian women’s team had lost to Canada 1-4, but had won 5-0 against Australia in Group A.