Thomas & Uber Cup badminton: India off to winning start, Saina Nehwal injured

The women’s team came from a match down to win 3-2 against Spain in the Uber Cup. The men beat the Netherlands 5-0 in the Thomas Cup.

By Rahul Venkat
Picture by Badmintonphoto | Courtesy of BWF

The women’s Indian badminton team beat Spain 3-2 in Group B while the men’s team beat the Netherlands 5-0 in Group C in the Thomas & Uber Cup 2020 in Aarhus, Denmark on Sunday.

India’s Malvika Bansod and Aditi Bhatt won their singles matches while the young pair of Tanisha Crasto/Rutuparna Panda won the doubles tie for the women’s team in the Uber Cup.

London 2012 bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal and veterans Ashwini Ponnappa/N Sikki Reddy lost their respective matches.

Saina Nehwal played the first match for India and she conceded it after retiring hurt with an unknown injury against Clara Azurmendi. The Indian had lost the first game 22-20 at that point and it is not yet known if she will be fit enough to play the next tie.

With Saina Nehwal conceding the first match, it could have been a nervous outing for India’s youngsters to follow, but they stepped up in fine fashion.

The 20-year-old Malvika Bansod got India level at 1-1 with a swift 21-13, 21-15 win over Beatriz Corrales.

The pair of Tanisha Crasto/Rutuparna Panda then helped India take a 2-1 lead after an attacking masterclass in a dominating 21-10, 21-8 win over Paula Lopez/Lorena Usle.

The young Aditi Bhatt then sealed the tie 3-1 for India with a 21-16, 21-14 victory over Ania Setien.

The pair of Ashwini Ponnappa/N Sikki Reddy, however, lost the final match of the tie 18-21, 21-14, 17-21 to Clara Azurmendi/Beatriz Corrales.

The Indian women will next play Scotland in Group B on Tuesday and will progress to the last eight if they win the tie.

India beat the Netherlands 5-0 in Thomas Cup

The Indian men enjoyed a more comfortable outing in the Thomas Cup, beating the Netherlands 5-0.

Former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth began proceedings with a 21-12, 21-14 win over Joran Kweekel.

The men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty/Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who made their Olympic debuts at Tokyo 2020, then got the better of Ruben Jille/Ties van der Lecq 21-19, 21-12 to give India a 2-0 lead.

World championships bronze-medallist B Sai Praneeth soon sealed the tie for India with a routine 21-4, 21-12 win over Robin Mesman.

The pair of MR Arjun/Dhruv Kapila made it 4-0 after beating Andy Buijk/Brian Wassnik 21-12, 21-13 in just over half an hour.

In the final match of the tie, Sameer Verma made it a 5-0 clean sweep with another comfortable 21-6, 21-11 win over Gijs Duijs.

The Indian men next play Tahiti in Group C on Tuesday and could seal their place in the quarter-finals with a victory.