India had a bad day in their match against Korea in Dongguan, where Saina Nehwal was the lone bright spot in the 1-4 loss in the Vivo BWF Sudirman Cup. Three-time champions Korea dominated in every other tie and India’s weakness in doubles’ games came to the fore yet again. With the completion of all regulation matches in Group 1D, Malaysia and Korea went through to the play-off stage. Immediately afterwards, the draw was conducted that pitted Malaysia against Korea for the second time in the tournament. Malaysian officials cursed their bad luck as they would need to fight with Korea once again after Lee Chong Wei’s presence had seen them make it to the play-offs. As per the draw, other matches will see China playing against Germany, Indonesia against Chinese Taipei and Denmark against Japan.
India opened badly in the first tie against Korea, when the men’s doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar lost 10-21, 19-21 to the world’s no. 8 pair of Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang. Playing a lackluster game, the Indian men were literally made to run from pillar to post in the first game. In the second, Chopra/Dewalkar played better but the Koreans held their nerves in the end. The second tie of the contest was the women’s singles match in which Saina Nehwal brought India back into contention with a three-game win against Bae Yeon Ju. But Saina had to fight hard because the former world no.5 Bae Yeon stretched her in the first game and took the second. In the third game, Saina produced a determined performance and edged out the Korean 22-20, 17-21, 21-13. But this was about the only tie that India would win since despite a gritty battle, Parupalli Kashyap lost the men’s single tie against world no.5 Son Wan Ho. Kashyap won the first game 21-13 but lost the next two 14-21, 13-21 loss to yield the advantage back to the Koreans. In the women’s doubles, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa also began with winning the first game 21-18 against Korean pair of Chang Ye Na/Jung Kyung Eun only to succumb in the next two games 12-21, 12-21. It was the end of Indian challenge in the 2015 Sudirman Cup because the loss in the mixed doubles tie was inconsequential. Manu Attri and Sikki Reddy went down 12-21, 20-22 to Kim Ha Na Ko Sung Hyun and Korea emerged 4-1 victorious.
In the vital final match of sub-group 1C, Indonesia took on Denmark. It was a close contest despite the fact that the Danes had a depleted team and losr 2-3 to Indonesia, who began with taking the men’s doubles. The strong Indonesian pair of Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan played brilliantly against Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen before coming through 21-23 21-16 21-12. In the following women’s singles match, Bellaetrix Manuputty made it 2-0 for Indonesia by beating Line Kjaersfeldt. In the men’s singles, Denmark’s world no.3 Jan O Jorgensen took just 27 minutes in beating Firman Abdul Kholik 21-8 21-10. In the next tie, Indonesia sealed their place in play-offs, when Asian Games women’s double champions Greysia Polii/Nitya Krishinda Maheswari defeated Maiken Fruergaard/Maria Helsbol 21-16 21-13. In the last mixed doubles tie, Denmark ended with a consolation win as Mads Pieler Kolding/Sara Thygesen defeated Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto.
In other matches on Wednesday, France defeated Brazil 4-1; Australia scraped 3-2 against Switzerland; Vietnam defeated Italy 5-0; Czech Republic beat Turkey 3-2; Spain also scored a narrow 3-2 win over Canada; Netherlands beat Singapore 4-1; Austria beat South Africa 4-1 and Hong Kong beat USA 5-0.
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