Indian shuttlers blank Pak, SL in team event
Gold Coast: Indian shuttlers were off to a flying start in the mixed team championship as they blanked both Sri Lanka and Pakistan with identical 5-0 margin in lop-sided preliminary clashes on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games here on Thursday.
Spearheaded by Saina Nehwal and K Srikanth in singles, India expectedly dominated the tie as they dumped their Sri Lankan opponents 5-0. The only match where India were pushed to a degree was the mixed doubles.
India later trounced Pakistan by a similar margin but world no 2 Srikanth was made to work hard by a hitherto-unknown Murad Ali in men's singles.
Pranaav Chopra and Ruthvika Gadde earlier opened the proceedings against Sachin Dias and Thilini Pramodika and the Indian pair had to toil a little more than anticipated to prevail 21-15 19-21 22-20 in the mixed doubles match, which lasted nearly an hour.
However, Srikanth brought the momentum back by dispatching Niluka Karunaratane in straight games. The men's singles top seed won 21-16 21-10.
The men's doubles pair of Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty made a successful CWG debut, taking down Dinuka Karunaratna and Buwaneka Goonethillkea 21-17 21-14.
Next player in was Saina and she didn't give much time or effort in annihilating Madushika Beruelage 21-8 21-4 in a 22-minute appearance.
The star shuttler was caught in a controversy recently when she threatened to pull out of the Games if her father Harvir Singh wasn't accommodated at the CWG athletes village.
Singh was there in the stands to watch her today although he wasn't seated with the Indian team due to his status of being an extra official.
"It is nice to get used to the court conditions. The Commonwealth Games is very prestigious for all of the countries, and for India, we are trying our level best and I just want to be focused and concentrate on all of my matches," Saina said after her match.
"I expected that she would give me a tough fight. When you play someone who is lower-ranked, it is tough, because there is great expectation from you," she added. "I hope that the whole team can play well. We are not thinking too much about the semis and finals."