India kicked off their Uber Cup campaign in style on Sunday with a 3-2 victory over Spain in Aarhus, Denmark.
Malvika Bansod and other youngsters rose to the occasion to help India post a win after a disappointing performance by Saina Nehwal earlier in the day.
In the opening Group B encounter, India capitalized on the absence of Rio Olympic Games gold medalist Carolina Marin with a brilliant come-from-behind victory.
The major credit for the win should go to young Indian shuttlers like Malvika Bansod, Aditi Bhatt and the doubles duo of Tanisha Crasto and Rutaparna Panda.
False start for Saina Nehwal
Meanwhile, Saina Nehwal's comeback after a long gap turned out to be a disappointing one.
The ace Indian had to retire after losing the opening game 20-22 against Clara Azurmendi. The World No. 19 Indian was expected to roll over the tall Spaniard.
However, the 58th-ranked Azurmendi took advantage of Saina's lack of match practice and claimed the extended first game 22-20 in 18 minutes
Saina looked rusty and did not live up to expectations in the first singles rubber.
Malvika Bansod shocks higher-ranked Beatriz Corrales to level score 1-1
Young Malvika Bansod then had the onus of putting India back on track and she did a commendable job. The talented southpaw shocked Beatriz Corrales 21-13, 21-15 in 35 minutes.
World No. 71 Corrales was more experienced than Malvika. However, Malvika, ranked 104th in the world, came up with an inspired performance to ground the 29-year-old Spaniard.
The 20-year-old Nagpur girl got off to a flying start with a 3-0 lead and maintained it as the game progressed.
Corrales saved two game points but could not stop Malvika from clinching the game on the third game point.
In the second game, Malvika faced resistance from Corrales as they engaged in long rallies. But the youngster did not lose control of the match and finished off with a splendid display of attacking game.
Tanisha Crasto-Rutaparna Panda make it 2-1 with win in first doubles rubber
Tanisha Crasto and Rutaparna Panda were then given the preference to play the first doubles rubber.
The young combination reposed the faith shown in them by the team management with a quick-fire 21-10, 21-8 victory over Paula Lopez and Lorena Usle.
The Indian pair, ranked 1146th in the world, needed less than half an hour to get the better of their Spanish opponents. Paula Lopez and Lorena Usle are the World No. 214 pair but were outclassed by the young Indian duo.
Aditi Bhatt seals India's win with a strong performance
18-year-old Aditi Bhatt then sealed India's win with a straight-game demolition of Ania Setien.
Aditi did not have the best of starts but she found her rhythm as the match progressed. The teenager completed the 21-16, 21-14 win in 34 minutes.
Ashwini Ponnappa-Sikki Reddy failed to finish the tie with a win
India failed to finish the tie with a win as the veteran duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost to Clara Azurmendi and Beatriz Corrales 18-21, 21-14, 17-21.
The experienced Indian campaigners lost the first game narrowly but bounced back to claim the second game. In the decider, the Indian pair were in the lead but lost momentum to go down in 57 minutes.
Uber Cup Result
India beat Spain 3-2
Women’s singles 1: Saina Nehwal lost to Clara Azurmendi 20-22 (Retired) (18 minutes)
Women’s singles 2: Malvika Bansod bt Beatriz Corrales 21-13, 21-15 (35 minutes)
Women’s doubles 1: Tanisha Crasto-Rutaparna Panda bt Paula Lopez-Lorena Usle 21-10, 21-8 (29 minutes)
Women’s singles 3: Aditi Bhatt bt Ania Setien 21-16, 21-14 (34 minutes)
Women’s doubles 2: Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy lost to Clara Azurmendi-Beatriz Corrales 18-21, 21-14, 17-21 (57 minutes).