India face must-win clash against S Korea in Sudirman Cup
India <g data-gr-id="38">face</g> former champions South Korea in a must-win battle to qualify for the knockout round of the world mixed team badminton championship, Sudirman Cup at the Dongfeng Nissan Sports Center here on Wednesday.
India put up a spirited performance but lost to Malaysia 2-3 in their first match of Group 1D that has three teams and two will progress to the next round. India’s best bet Saina Nehwal and women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa won two matches for their team.
But Kidambi Srikanth, men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy and mixed doubles combo of N. Sikki Reddy and Arun Vishnu lost their matches.
With this win and Sunday’s victory over three-time champions South Korea, Malaysia have already qualified to the next round riding on the success of former world No.1 Lee Chong Wei, who returned to action after serving a backdated eight month doping ban.
The 15-member strong Indian contingent will take on their rivals in all five categories of the sport -- singles (men’s and women’s) and doubles (men’s, women’s and mixed).
Former world No.1 Saina is expected to battle world No.7 Sung Ji <g data-gr-id="27">Hyun,</g> while world No.4 Srikanth will have to fight it out against world No.5 Wan Ho Son in the men’s singles encounter. Olympic bronze medallist Saina leads 5-1 in career meetings against Sung and will be strongly favoured to win.
Srikanth <g data-gr-id="20">came</g> a cropper against Chong Wei and he needs to raise his bar against Wan Ho Son, who leads 4-2 in career meeting against the 22-year-old. India will expect both of their singles stars to win as the Koreans are stronger in doubles competitions.