Indian women sparkle while men fall apart

Saina shines in 5-0 win over Canada

Indian women sparkle while men fall apart

 Up against former champions Malayasia, Indian men slumped to a 1-4 defeat before Saina Nehwal-led women’s team lifted the gloom with a comfortable 5-0 win over lowly Canada on the opening day of Thomas and Uber Cup Finals at Siri Fort Complex on Monday.

Only RMV Gurusaidutt, playing the third men’s singles, had a victory to flaunt. He beat Daren Liew 18-21, 21-13, 21-19 in a keenly fought contest and ensured India had something to cheer on the opening day.

Meanwhile, the women players got going from the start.  Playing against Joycelyn Ko, an opponent whom she has dominated in the past, Saina Nehwal barely broke sweat during her 21-4, 21-12 victory to give India the first point.

"I think still there are lots of tough matches ahead and it is difficult to talk about momentum now. But I am in good rhythm. We are looking to play Hong Kong tomorrow (Monday)” said Saina.

PV Sindhu, turning up in the second singles, had to overcome an indifferent start against Rachael Honderich before romping home 21-16, 21-3.  The doubles pairing of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa then handed the team an assailable 3-0 lead with a 21-11, 21-12 victory against Bruce Alex and Phyllis Chan. PC Thulasi made it 4-0 with 21-11, 21-13 victory over Brittney Tam.

 In contrast, the men could barely stand up to the challenge of Malaysia. In his maiden stint, K Srikanth faced the tall ask of playing World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei. And expectedly, he lost 19-21, 12-21.

 Srikanth had his moments but he struggled to finish the points. Lee, always calculative in expending energy, merrily toyed with him to take a 11-6 lead before the Indian broke the shackles. Known for his attacking game, he also delighted with his soft touches and deceptive returns. 

Lee was in for a surprise when Srikanth saved five straight game points and looked threatening at 19-20. But the Malaysian promptly closed the point at the net.

Srikanth, ranked 18th, continued to push the World No. 1 in the second game. Even a poker faced Lee was forced to smile when, at 9-7, the Indian left him stranded with a powerful smash. It was 11-9 for Lee at the break but Srikanth struggled after the resumption as he failed to cope with the fast exchanges. 

“I had my chances in the first game when I won six points in a go,” Srikanth said. “But I believe I gave my team a good start.”

The “good start”, though, didn’t seem to rub on the doubles pair of Sumeeth B Reddy and  Manu Attri who went down 14-21, 11-21 to Boon Heong Tan and Thien How Hoo. Captain Parupalli Kashyap, too, could do little to arrest the Indian team’s slide.

 He said he was “clueless” against Wei Feng Chong, who  kept his winning streak over Kashyap with a commanding 21- 13, 21-6 score. The second Indian doubles pair of Akshay Dewalkar and Pranaav Jerry Chopra did put up a spirited fight to pull off one game against Shem Goh and Wee Kiong Tan before succumbing 17-21, 21-14, 14-21.India next face another stern test against Korea on Monday. In a thrilling Group C tie Korea was run close by Germany. Germany was propelled by the victories of their singles players Mark Zwiebler and Dieter Domke but didn’t have sufficient arsenal in the doubles to lose 2-3.


Results: Thomas Cup: Group B: Denmark bt Hong Kong 4-1; Japan bt England 4-1.                               Group C: Malaysia bt India 4-1 (Lee Chong Wei bt Srikanth 21-19, 21-12; Boon Heong Tan/ Thien How Hoo bt Sumeeth Reddy/ B Manu Attri 21-14, 21-11; Wei Feng Chong bt Parupalli Kashyap 21-13, 21-6; V Shem Goh/ Wee Kiong Tan bt Akshay Dewalkar/ Pranaav Jerry Chopra 21-17, 14-21, 21-14; Daren Liew lt to RMV Gurusaidutt 21-18, 13-21, 19-21); Korea bt Germany 3-2.

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 5-0Group Y: India bt Canada 5-0 (Saina Nehwal bt Joycelyn 21-4, 21-12; PV Sindhu bt Rachael Honderich 21-16, 21-3; Jwala Gutta/ Ashwini Ponnappa bt Bruce Alex/ Phyllis Chan 21-11, 21-12; PC Thulasi bt Brittany Tam 21-11, 21-13; Pradnya Gadre/Sikki Reddy bt Grace Gao/ Honderich 22-20, 21-18, 21-16).

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