Indian male shuttlers got off to a bad start in the Thomas Cup Final as they suffered a 1-4 loss to France in a group A opening match. World No. 18 B Sai Praneeth won the first game but the other young players couldn’t maintain the lead which jeopardised their chances of making it to the knockouts.
B Sai Praneeth had earlier predicted a successful run for the Indian badminton team in the Thomas Cup Final. Contrary to his conviction, the team got off to a disappointing start on Sunday as they lost 1-4 to France in group A opening match which has tempted the fate of their chances to make it to the knockouts.
Praneeth had set the stage for the team by defeating France’s Brice Leverdez 21-7, 21-18 to take a 1-0 lead but none of the other players could keep the momentum going as the next four consecutive face-offs resulted in losses for the Indian team.
World No. 38 Arjun MR and Ramachandran Shlok succumbed to the pressure, losing 13-21, 16-21 to Bastian Kersaudy and Julien Maio (ranked 47) in the doubles. Swiss Open champion Sameer Verma then had the responsibility of bringing India back into the game. The 21th-ranked player, however, fell victim to Lucas Corve losing 18-21,22-20,18-21 in the second singles, against the French shuttler which pushed Frank forward with a 2-1 lead.
The second doubles match also yielded disappointing results as World No. 70 Arun George and Sanyam Shukla lost 10-21, 12-21 to 103-ranked Thom Gicquel and Ronan Labar. Lakshya Sen put up a tough fight against Toma Junior Popov but conceded the third singles game to him after losing 20-22,21-19,19-21.
India will next face Australia on Monday.