Dongguan (China), May 11 (IANS): Despite a spirited performance from their shuttlers, India were beaten 2-3 by Malaysia, who won their second straight tie to qualify for the knockouts of the World Mixed Team Badminton Championships for the Sudirman Cup at the Dongfeng Nissan Sports Center here on Monday.
India’s best bet Saina Nehwal and the successful pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa won the two matches for their team.
India will play their second and final Group 1D match against South Korea on Wednesday, which will be a virtual knockout with the winner progressing to the quarterfinals.
India started on a losing note as men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy went down to Goh V. Shem and Tan Wee Kiong 15-21, 16-21 in 33 minutes. The Malaysian pair levelled their head-to-head to 1-1.
However, 44 minutes later, World No.2 Saina defeated Tee Jing Yi 24-22, 21-13 in women’s singles to level the tie at 1-1. This was the Hyderabadi’s second win in as many meetings against Tee.
In the crucial men’s singles tie, despite Lee Chong Wei’s rusty form, the two-time Olympic silver medallist trumped World No.4 Kidambi Srikanth 21-16, 21-15 in 40 minutes to help Malaysia take a 2-1 lead in the contest.
This was the former World No.1’s fourth successive win in as many meetings over Srikanth. Chong Wei is just coming out of an eight-month doping ban.
Later, 2011 World Championship bronze medallists Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa came out with a surprise when they stunned Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Woon Khe Wei in women’s doubles to win 21-18, 19-21, 21-15 in 56 minutes.
Commonwealth Games champions Jwala and Ashwini earned their second victory in three meetings over Vivian and Woon to even the tie for India at 2-2.
It all boiled down to the mixed doubles match where Malaysia sealed the tie with Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying beating N. Sikki Reddy and Arun Vishnu 21-14, 21-18 in 40 minutes.