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Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth find form as India blank Netherlands 5-0 in Thomas Cup

India beat Netherlands 5-0 in the Group C opening match of the Thomas Cup on Sunday
India beat Netherlands 5-0 in the Group C opening match of the Thomas Cup on Sunday
Suhas Nayse
EXPERT

Indian men rounded up a perfect day with a resounding 5-0 victory in the BWF Thomas Cup in Aarhus, Denmark on Sunday.

After Indian women defeated Spain 3-2 earlier in the day, their male counterparts did even better by blanking the Netherlands in their opening Group C outing.

All the Indian players, including Sai Praneeth, lived up to their billings and made a bold statement with their crushing wins over the Netherlands.

The most important factor of Sunday’s late-evening match was the victory by B Sai Praneeth. The world No. 15 Indian shuttler was down on confidence after a series of disappointing results in the last few months.

In the Tokyo Olympics, Sai Praneeth failed to win a single match in his group and made an early exit. Even in the recently concluded Sudirman Cup mixed team championship in Finland, his losing streak continued.

However, the 29-year-old put a full stop to his misery and recorded a morale-boosting win over Robin Mesman. Sai Praneeth needed just 27 minutes to pack off the Dutchman, a newcomer to the circuit.

Sai Praneeth beats Robin Mesman to post much-needed win under his belt

Sai Praneeth’s 21-4, 21-12 victory over Mesman is encouraging news for the Indian camp as they aim to win a maiden medal in the Thomas Cup. The Indian will be looking to continue his winning streak over the next few encounters.

He dictated the terms to his opponent throughout the match. Barring a few moments in the second game, Sai Praneeth was in total control of the situation.

B Sai Praneeth beat Robin Mesman 21-4, 21-12 on Sunday
B Sai Praneeth beat Robin Mesman 21-4, 21-12 on Sunday

Earlier, Kidambi Srikanth provided a flying start for India with a quickfire 21-12, 21-14 win over Joran Kweekel in 33 minutes.

It was Srikanth’s second successive victory after the world No. 14 notched up a win against Finland in their last league outing in the Sudirman Cup.

Former world No. 1 Srikanth was in total command against the Dutchman, ranked No. 86 in the world, as he displayed glimpses of his old magic to ground his opponent.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who missed the Sudirman Cup a couple of weeks ago, got off to a scratchy start.

The world No. 10 pair was trailing by a few points before they recovered well enough to post a 21-19, 21-12 win against Ruben Jille and Ties Van Der Lecq. The first doubles, which was also the first match for Chirag and Satwik after the Tokyo Olympics, lasted for 39 minutes.

MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila then consolidated the lead as the young pair steamrolled Andy Buijk and Brian Wassink 21-12, 21-13 in 30 minutes.

Sameer Verma completed the formalities by winning his singles against Dutch rookie Gijs Duijs. World No. 28 Verma taught a lesson or two to his young rival on his way to a clinical 21-10, 21-12 win.

Thomas Cup Results

India beat Netherlands 5-0

Men’s singles 1

Kidambi Srikanth bt Joran Kweekel 21-12, 21-14 (33 minutes)

Men’s doubles 1

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty bt Ruben Jille-Ties Van Der Lecq 21-19, 21-12 (39 minutes)

Men’s singles 2

B Sai Praneeth bt Robin Mesman 21-4, 21-12 (27 minutes)

Men’s doubles 2

MR Arjun-Dhruv Kapila bt Andy Buijk-Brian Wassink 21-12, 21-13 (30 minutes)

Men’s singles 3

Sameer Verma bt Gijs Duijs 21-6, 21-11 (29 minutes).

Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
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