India beat Thailand to stay in hunt in Sudirman Cup
Saina Nehwal suffered a shock defeat to Inthanon Ratchanok but a determined India rode on P Kashyap and the pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa's stunning wins to notch up a 3-2 victory over Thailand in Sudirman Cup.
Saina Nehwal suffered a shock defeat to Inthanon Ratchanok but a determined India rode on P Kashyap and the pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa's stunning wins to notch up a 3-2 victory over Thailand in the second tie of group C and keep their hopes alive of reaching the quarterfinals of the Sudirman Cup in Qingdao, China on Monday.
India, who lost to Chinese Taipie 2-3 in their opener on Sunday, pushed their higher-ranked opponents all the way in the mixed team competition and brighten their hopes of entering the knock-out stage for the first time since the Sudirman Cup started in 1989.
World number 43 pair of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas gave India a positive start after seeing off Bodin Issara and Maneepong Jongjit, ranked 125, 21-13 21-17 in the men's doubles in the first rubber.
But Saina, who is ranked fourth in the world, couldn't make it count and lost 14-21 20-22 to world number 18 Inthanon in a 36-minute clash in the women's singles to lose the lead. Locked 1-1, Kashyap was handed an uphill task of putting across world number six Ponsana. But the Andhra Pradesh lad didn't disappoint as he notched up a stunning 12-21 21-18 21-16 victory in an hour long clash to bring India back into the hunt, providing a 2-1 lead.
Inspired by Kashyap's stunning win, Commonwealth Games gold medallist pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, ranked 32nd, also saw off the challenge from world number eight Duang Anong Aroonkesorn and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul 21-18 15-21 21-19 in the fourth rubber to help India clinch the tie convincingly in the end.