New Delhi: India had to settle down for a bronze as they lost their semi-final tie to Japan 2-3 despite taking a 2-0 lead in the World Women's Team Championship for the Uber Cup at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here Friday.
Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu gave India the perfect start they needed by winning the first two singles. But five-time champions Japan outplayed the hosts in the two doubles and third singles to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Earlier, 12-time and defending champions China thrashed South Korea 3-0 in a repeat of the final of the last two editions. Olympic champion Li Xuerui, World No.2 Shixian Wang and top doubles combine Yixin Bao and Jinhua Tang had no trouble in easing past South Korea to book a place in Saturday's final.
Olympic bronze medalist Saina gave India the start they needed by easing past World No.12 Minatsu Mitani 21-12, 21-13 to take a 4-2 lead in career meetings. The World No.8 was far superior on court and comfortably kept extending her lead in both the games to seal the match in 41 minutes.
Minatsu tried her best to contain the Hyderabadi but Saina has been in supreme form this tournament and proved a bit too strong for the Japanese to handle.
"It's good that I am beating top players, which shows improvement. There was a lot of pressure to perform but what is important is that I am playing well. Nobody had expected me to do this well -- the media, my coach and parents, myself. No one believed I would be able to beat Ratchanok and Minatsu so easily," said Saina.