Bangkok: Beating Denmark, 3-2, in a gripping semifinal match here on Friday, the Indian men's badminton squad reached their maiden Thomas Cup final, IANS reported.
The semifinals were India's first in 43 years. The fixture was started with the world's 9th ranked Lakshya Sen facing Olympic champion and world no 1 Viktor Axelsen. This was their third battle this year, while Lakshya beat Viktor in the German Open semis and got beaten in the All England Open final.
Even though Sen started well, Viktor gathered the reins of the match and sealed the first game with a comfortable win. In the second game also, Sen couldn't bring out consistency while his opponent closed the first rubber 21-13, 21-13 in 49 minutes.
But India's Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, the country's top doubles players, played to bring India to a tie. They beat Kim Astrup and Mathias Christiansen 21-18, 21-23, 22-20. The match went on for an hour and 17 minutes. But the duo lost in the second set, bringing the game to a decider. The Danes made a good lead in the opening of the third set, but the Indian duo made a comeback, with particular efforts from Chirag.
Next, India's Kidambi Srikanth beat world championship silver medallist Anders Antonsen 21-18, 12-21, 21-14. When Srikant won the first set, Antonsen forced the second setout of the Indian. But Srikanth sealed the decider in his favour, though with a Herculean effort.
However, Denmark levelled the score to 2-2 in the next fixture after beating Indian doubles Vishnu Panjala and Krishna Garaga 21-14, 21-13 in the fourth match.
But India's HS Prannoy worked the way to the finals, beating Rasmus Gemke in a decider. Prannoy lost the first set, won the second and won the decider with scores 13-21, 21-9, 21-12.
In 1952, 1955 and 1979, India had reached the Thomas Cup semifinals. Now it will play Indonesia in a historic final on Sunday.