Badminton world number one Akane Yamaguchi suffered a stunning Thomas and Uber Cup defeat on Wednesday at the hands of a teenage rookie ranked more than 300 places below her.
Indonesia’s Bilqis Prasista, 18, saw off Japan’s world champion 21-19, 21-19 in 35 minutes at Bangkok’s Impact Arena.
But Japan roared back to beat the Indonesians 4-1 and top Group A. Both teams have qualified for the quarter-finals of the women’s Uber Cup.
“It’s unbelievable. I could never imagine beating Akane Yamaguchi,” Prasista, 333rd in the world rankings, said.
“I just wanted to make her run and chase the shuttle so it was no fun for her. That was the key.”
The teenager made her mark early, leaving Yamaguchi scoreless as she jumped into a four-point lead in the first game.
Yamaguchi briefly recovered but came unstuck in the face of lethal net shots and smashes from her gutsy opponent.
Yamaguchi grabbed an early six-point lead in the second game before Prasista levelled the scores with a run of points, then inched to match point and a surprise victory.
It was a hat-trick of wins for Prasista, who beat German Florentine Schoeffski and France’s Yaelle Hoyaux in recent days.
A disappointed Yamaguchi said the drift in the arena had made it difficult to control the shuttlecock.
“I couldn’t control the game,” the 24-year-old told reporters.
Uber Cup: South Korea thrashes India 5-0
Double Olympic medallist P V Sindhu was vanquished by world number four An Seyoung yet again as the Indian women’s badminton team suffered a demoralising 0-5 defeat against South Korea in its final group D match of the Uber Cup Final on Wednesday.
After two successive wins against Canada and USA, it was a reality check for the young Indian team as it could not take a single game from the Koreans during the five-match tie. However, the defeat will not count much as India has already sealed a quarterfinal berth after ensuring itself a top-two finish in the group after two victories.
For Sindhu, it was a disappointing outing as she succumbed to her straight fifth loss to An Seyoung, losing 15-21, 14-21 this time in a lopsided contest as India conceded an early 0-1 lead. The combo of Shruti Mishra and Simran Singhi was no match to world number two pair of Lee Sohee and Shin Seungchan, going down 13-21, 12-21 in 39 minutes. Aakarshi Kashyap then was sent packing 10-21 10-21 by world number 19 Kim Ga Eun as India surrendered the tie 0-3.