Nanning: Sameer Verma suffered a shocking straight-game loss in men’s singles Tuesday as India were stunned 2-3 by a young Malaysia side in a group 1D match to jeopardise their hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the Sudirman Cup mixed team championships here.
The mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa produced a brilliant performance to outdo Malaysia’s Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie 16-21, 21-17, 24-22 in a 70-minute opening match to put India ahead.
But India’s decision to field world no 13 Sameer instead of Kidambi Srikanth in men’s singles backfired as the former couldn’t get going against Lee Zii Jia, losing 13-21, 15-21 in 48 minutes to allow Malaysia level the scores 1-1.
PV Sindhu then steamrolled Goh Jin Wei 21-12, 21-8 in 35 minutes to bring India back on track but the doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy lost narrowly 20-22, 19-21 to Aaron Chia and Teo Ee Yi.
With India and Malaysia level at 2-2, Ashwini once again took the court — two hours after her mixed doubles match – alongside N Sikki Reddy but the women’s doubles pair couldn’t get going and lost to 11-21, 19-21 to the World No.13 pair of Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean.
Eighth seeded India’s hopes will now rest on their next match when they take on Wednesday the mighty Chinese side. China boost of All England champion Chen Yufei and World No.2 Shi Yuqi besides three formidable doubles pairs – all figuring the world’s top 10 and it will take a miraculous effort from India to overcome the 10-time champions.
India had reached the quarterfinals in the 2011 and 2017 editions of the Sudirman Cup.