For the Indian men, the mauling at the hands of Malaysia could have been worse but for R.M.V. Gurusaidutt’s late effort. On the brighter side, the ladies brought cheer by blanking Canada.
Overall, the opening day’s action — before near-empty stands — in Thomas and Uber Cup followed an anticipated course at the Siri Fort Indoor Complex here on Sunday.
Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu and P. Thulasi warmed up for stiffer challenges ahead by racing away to comfortable wins. The duos of G. Jwala & Ashwini Ponnappa, and Pradnya Gadre & Sikki Reddy won in contrasting ways.
Though there was no hope of India upstaging the mighty Malaysia, the “clueless” display of P. Kashyap was baffling. The 2012 Olympic Games quarterfinalist crashed to his fourth successive defeat, in as many encounters, against Chong Wei Feng.
In fact, in the space of just 95 minutes of on-court action, Malaysia had raced away to a winning 3-0 lead against a “well-prepared” host. Against World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, National champion K. Srikanth lost in straight games after looking good in the first.
The tame surrender of Sumeeth Reddy & Manu Attri to Boon Heong Tan & Thein How Hoon, too, did not come as a surprise.
However, truly baffling was Kashyap’s loss of focus. Kashyap, who admitted he had “no clue of what was going on in the second game (which he lost 21-6)” will have to make amends by playing a major role in the remainder of India’s campaign.
Gurusaidutt, who last beat Daren Liew 21-16, 21-20 in the Indian Badminton League last August, prevented a 5-0 defeat by keeping his nerves when it mattered. Trailing 18-19 in the decider, Gurusaidutt played aggressively and won when the Malaysian tossed the shuttle long.
India now faces a must-win situation against Korea on Monday. Korea ran into unexpected resistance from Germany and eventually prevailed 3-2.
The results (league):
Thomas Cup: Group ‘B’: Japan bt England 4-1; Denmark bt Hong Kong 4-1.
Group ‘C’: Malaysia bt India 4-1 (Lee Chong Wei bt K. Srikanth 21-19, 21-12; Boon Heong Tan & Thien How Hoon bt Sumeeth Reddy & Manu Attri 21-14, 21-11; Wei Feng Chong bt P. Kashyap 21-13, 21-6; V. Shem Goh & Wee Kiong Tan bt Akshay Dewalkar & Pranaav Chopra 21-17, 14-21, 21-14; Daren Liew lost to R.M.V. Gurusaidutt 21-18, 13-21, 19-21); Korea bt Germany 3-2.
Group ‘D’: China bt France 5-0; Chinese Taipei bt Russia 4-1.
Uber Cup: Group ‘W’: China bt Russia 5-0; England bt Chinese Taipei 3-2. Group ‘X’: Indonesia bt Australia 5-0; Korea bt Singapore 5-0.
Group ‘Y’: India bt Canada 5-0 (Saina Nehwal bt Joycelyn Ko 21-4, 21-12; P.V. Sindhu bt Rachael Honderich 21-16, 21-3; G. Jwala & Ashwini Ponnappa bt Bruce Alex & Phyllis Chan 21-11, 21-12; P.C. Thulasi bt Brittney Tam 21-11, 21-13; Pradyna Gadre & Sikki Reddy bt Grace Gao & Rachael Honderich 20-22, 21-18, 21-16); Thailand bt Hong Kong 3-2.