Indians on Monday lost 0-5 against 11-time winners and reigning champions China and squandered an opportunity to tie the group and eventually could have seen them qualify for the quarterfinals at the biannual event.
This was India’s second consecutive loss in the group stage. The first defeat was against Thailand in the opening game on Sunday where India lost 4-1.
Indians were not up to their full strength going into the mixed team event. The absence of the 2-time Olympics medalist PV Sindhu, former world no.1 Saina Nehwal, and the doubles pair of Chirag and Satwik hurt India’s prospects.
Men's doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapil put up a fantastic fight in both matches. Arjun and Dhruv played an impressive match against Supak Jomkoh and Kittinupong Kedren won 21-18, 21-17. On Monday this young pair faced the experienced Chinese pair of Liu Cheng and Zhou Hao Dong, the Indian’s fought till the last point before going down 20-22, 17-21.
Unexperienced women’s singles players Malvika Bansod & Aditi Bhatt were no match for Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong and China’s world no.1 Chen Yu Fei. Indian men’s singles players were not effective too, as Srikanth Kidambi lost to Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand and Sai Praneeth lost to Shiv Yuqi of China, both of them losing in straight games.
With a lack of bench strength, Indian’s experimented with Sai Praneeth and Srikanth in the mixed doubles category, which resulted in defeats.
Efforts from the experienced women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy too were not good enough as they lost both the matches in straight games.
Now that the news of Saina Nehwal being match-ready and the probability of Chirag and Satwik playing the Thomas Cup, Indian fans will have plenty to cheer for.
Thomas Cup is scheduled between 9th – 17th October 2021 at Ceres Arena, Aarhus, Denmark.