It was India's second straight defeat after losing the Group A opener to Thailand, and the final match is against Finland on Wednesday.
The Indian badminton team’s chances of qualifying for the Sudirman Cup knockout stage were dashed after a heavy 0-5 defeat to formidable China on Monday. One of the main reasons for this is the absence of star players. It was India’s second straight defeat after losing the Group A opener to Thailand. Thus, and the final match against Finland on Wednesday is now meaningless. Up against 11-time champions China, the chances for the new-look Indian team were always slim. But the fact that the players couldn’t even win a single game reflects poorly on Indian badminton’s bench strength.
The absence of double Olympic medalist PV Sindhu, London Games bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, and men’s doubles pair Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy harmed India’s chances. The team finished last in the team tournament. The men’s doubles team of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapil got things started with a fight against Liu Cheng and Zhou Hao Dong before falling 20-22, 17-21.
Aditi Bhatt then put her skills to the test against Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei. Fei easily won 21-9, 21-8 to put China up 2-0. World no. 15 B Sai Praneeth then took the court in men’s singles against former All England Champion Shi Yuqi. But it was a one-sided affair as he lost 10-21, 10-21. Thus, China sealed the match with an unassailable 3-0 lead.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki reddy were defeated 16-21, 13-21 by Chinese world number 15 Zheng Yu and Li Wen Mei in the tie’s final two inconsequential matches. Du Yue and Feng Yan Zhe defeated scratch pair Kidambi Srikanth and Rutaparna Panda 9-21, 9-21 in the mixed doubles match.
In men’s singles, Praneeth was defeated for the fifth time by Shi Yuqi. Yuqi was clearly the better player on the court, troubling the Indian with his fierce pace and solid defence. Yuqi, who is currently ranked 10th, played a fast-paced game in which he repeatedly brought down the shuttle at lightning speed. This confused the Indian, who was left to play catch-up.
Shi Yuqi, who was playing after recovering from an injury, looked in great form. He defended well and also hit some spectacular shots. Praneeth trailed 4-11 at the first break, but rallied to 15-4 before winning the first game in 16 minutes.
Praneeth attempted to pick up the pace, but he was too erratic. The Chinese shuttler maintained control of the net and produced winners to extend their lead to 11-4 at the half. The duo played some fast-paced rallies, but Praneeth couldn’t break through Shi Yuqi’s defence.