Powerhouses of Asian badminton will be battling for continental dominance as 15 men and 13 women teams will take part in Badminton Asia Team Championships 2018 at Alor Setar, Malaysia between February 6 and 11.
The event will also serve as a qualifying tournament for Thomas and Uber Cup Finals, which will be held in Thailand in May this year. Notably, the four semi-finalists will get automatic berths at the prestigious team tournaments.
Sixth-seeded India women's team began their campaign on a high when they defeated Hong Kong 3-2 in their Group W opener on Tuesday (February 6).
Despite the absence of former world number one Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu won her singles rubber against Yip Pui Yin after which she teamed up with Sikki Reddy to win the women's doubles match. World number 79 Ruthvika Shivani stepped up and won the deciding women's singles contest to give India a crucial win on the opening day of the tournament.
India will face Japan on Thursday, February 8 and a win will assure them a place in the quarter-finals. Sindhu's team will face a stiff test against Japan as the latter have world number two Akane Yamaguchi and reigning world champion Nozomi Okuhara among others in their ranks.
Notably, India women's team was blanked 3-0 by South Korea in the quarter-final of 2016 edition in Hyderabad.
India women's team: PV Sindhu, Ruthvika Shivani, Krishna Priya (WS), Ashwini Ponappa and Sikki Reddy, Prajakta Sawant and Sanyogita and Rituparna Das and Mithila UK (WD).
- India beat Hong Kong 3-2 on Tuesday
- India vs Japan on Thursday, February 8 [9am local time, 6:30am IST, 1am GMT]
Women's teams - Full list (Defending champions: China)
Group W: Japan, India, Hong Kong
Group X: South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Maldives
Group Y: Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines
Group Z: China Indonesia, Singapore
Live streaming and TV coverage
- India: TV: DSport (From QF); Live streaming: Watch DSport; DSport on Jio TV, Airtel TV
- Malaysia: TV: Astro Supersport 4; Live streaming: Astro Go
- Live scores of all the matches can be found here.
India's campaign in the men's category will be led by world number five Kidambi Srikanth. He will be joined by world number 18 Sai Praneeth and world number 41 Sameer Verma.
World number 11 HS Prannoy will not be travelling with the team as he is yet to recover from an injury that saw him exiting last week's India Open as early as in the first round.
Meanwhile, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty and Manu Attri/B Sumeeth Reddy pairing will be key for the fifth-seed team, who will look to emulate their last edition's semi-final appearance in the upcoming tournament. The doubles team will also have Shlok Ramachandran and MR Arjun.
India men's team will open their campaign against minnows Philippines on Tuesday. They will also face defending champions Indonesia and Maldives in the round-robin stage.
India men's team: Kidambi Srikanth, Sai Praneeth, Sameer Verma (MS), Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, Shlok Ramachandran and MR Arjun (MD).
- India vs Philippines on Tuesday, February 6 [7pm local time, 4:30pm IST, 11am GMT]
- India vs Indonesia on Wednesday, February [7pm local time, 4:30pm IST, 11am GMT]
- India vs Maldives on Thursday, February 8 [7pm local time, 4:30pm IST, 11am GMT]
Men's teams - Complete list (Defending champions: Indonesia)
Group A: China, Hong Kong, Singapore
Group B: Japan, South Korea, Nepal, Kazakhstan
Group C: Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar
Group D: Indonesia, India, Philippines, Maldives