India succumbed to a must and easy win leg against Malaysia in the first group match of the Sudirman Cup as the contingent stares at an early elimination from the mixed team championship. India could only win their mixed doubles and the women’s singles match losing the other three.
India started the match on a winning note, although in a nervous manner when mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Swastiksairaj Rankireddy was up against the pair of Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie. The Malaysian duo had won the first game 16-21 to give India an early scare before the Indian duo won the remaining two 21-17, 24-22.
The second game was perhaps the lynchpin of India’s loss today where Sameer Verma was up against Lee Zii Jia. The Indian was expected to have an easy win against his opponent who was much below ranked than him. However, Verma went on to lose 21-13, 21-15.
Though PV Sindhu managed to give India the lead with an easy 21-12, 21-18 win over Goh Jin Wei in the next match, the damage had already been done. India’s biggest strength was their singles clashes and Sameer Verma failing had made things trickier.
India decided to play B Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Attri in the men’s doubles category against Aaron Chia and Teo Ee Yi in place of the regular duo of Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty. And although the duo tried their best to win the deciding match, Malaysia were stronger and edged past them 22-20, 21-19.
The last match was just a formality for the women’s duo of Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy, who wasn’t India’s biggest hope, and they fared out exactly that way. After losing the first game 11-21, the duo showed resilience in the second game before eventually losing out 19-21.
India would be facing China next, who had ousted them in their previous two Sudirman Cup campaigns.