Asian heavyweights India and Thailand go head-to-head in the quarter-final clash of the inaugural edition of Robot Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships at Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam on Friday.
Thailand finished on top of Group C, which was the only group among the four to have four teams, after beating Japan, Vietnam and Philippines. Notably, the group favourites stunned third-seeded Japan, who also qualified for the last-eight round, 3-2 in a thrilling tie on Thursday.
Notably, Thailand have rotated their squad to good effect in the ongoing tournament as they have not used the same set of singles players twice. While Busanan Ongbamrunphan and Nitchaon Jindapol won their Women's singles matches against Vietnam and Philippines, respectively, it was world number 40 Pornpawee Chochuwong who triggered the Japanese collapse yesterday by beating world number Akane Yamaguchi.
Thailand are starting as favourites in the quarter-final clash and they will once again have the liberty to pick and choose from their large pool of players to battle against India, who are without their Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal.
However, India's Men's singles unit looks strong with the likes of Sameer Verma and HS Prannoy. The latter is heading into Friday's tie after stunning world number four Son Wan Ho on Thursday in their 1-4 loss to South Korea. Another good performance from the world number 23 early in the quarter-final will help them recover from the crushing defeat.
On the other hand, national champion Rituparna Das, who won her match on Wednesday, will likely feature in the Women's singles rubber. The onus will be on the likes of Sumeeth Reddy, Manu Attri, Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy to step up and deliver in the doubles categories on the big day against some of the big names in the opposition camp.
Singapore: Eleven Sports
Malaysia: Astro Supersport 4
India: Star Sports
Possible Line-up: HS Prannoy (MS), Rituparna Das (WS), Manu Attri/Sumeeth Reddy (MD), Ashwini Ponnappa/Sikki Reddy (WD), Sikki Reddy/Pranav Chopra (XD)
Possible Line-up: Khosit Phetpradab (MS), Pornpawee Chochiwong (WS), Kittinupon Kedren/Nipithphon Phuangphuapet (MD), Puttita Supajiraku/Sapsiree Taerattana (WD), Savitree Amitrapai/Dechapol Puavaraukroh (XD)