New Delhi: Singles stars Saina Nehwal and P Kashyap recorded victories but that was not enough to save India from defeat as it lost 2-3 to Chinese Taipei in the Sudirman Cup mixed team badminton competition in Qingdao, China, on Sunday.
Chinese Taipei rode on its strong doubles pairs to edge past India, which badly missed the experienced duo of Jwala Gutta and V Diju, who is nursing an injury.
The tie was locked 2-2, courtesy wins of Saina and Kashyap but the Jwala and Ashwini Ponappa could not win it for India as they lost the decisive fifith rubber 15-21, 17-21 to world No.2 Wen Hsing Cheng and Yu Chin Chien in the women's doubles.
The 32-ranked Indian pair, who won Commonwealth Games gold last year, lost in 23 minutes.
In the first clash, Aparna Balan and Arun Vishnu, ranked 88, lost to world number 15 pair Sheng Mu Lee and Yu Chin Chie 17-21, 10-21 in the mixed doubles.
Kashyap, the top Indian in the men's singles at 28, brought India back with a 21-16, 21-13 victory over Hsuan Yi Hsueh.
But Chinese Taipei's men's doubles pair of Sheng Mu Lee and Chieh Min Fang got back the lead with a 21-15, 21-18 victory over Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar.
World No.4 Saina Nehwal yet again drew parity for India with a fighting 21-10, 12-21, 21-17 victory over Tzu Ying Tai. But Jwala and Ponappa lost the fifth rubber.
India will next take on Thailand, the third team in group C.