Preview: Thomas Cup - India vs Indonesia; Uber Cup - India vs Japan
Thomas Cup 2016:
India’s men, so far, have not managed to get a grip on proceedings here at Kunshan. Having lost both their matches with 2-3 scorelines, against Thailand and Hong Kong, they now find themselves languishing at the bottom of standings in Group B. It is in such a scenario that they face fourth seeds Indonesia, in what is likely to be another challenging encounter before the group stage comes to an end.
In the 10 games played so far, only four have been won by the Indians, two each by B Sai Praneeth and the senior Varma brother – Sourabh. Main man Ajay Jayaram has had a rather disappointing outing which means he will be under tremendous pressure when he takes on Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto tomorrow.
In doubles too, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy have their task cut out against World No. 2 pair Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan to try and fetch their maiden win of the tourney. B Sai Praneeth would hope to extend his winning streak against Jonatan Christie to finish his campaign on a high.
Sameer or Sourabh – whoever faces Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the 4th draw would have to pull a special one to see India taking the lead over the tricky Indonesians. Finally, Akshay Dewalkar will be paired with either of the two teenagers of the squad, S Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, to play Angga Pratama-Ricky Karanda Suwardi in their closing fixture of Group B.
Uber Cup 2016:
In the Uber Cup, however, the Indians have painted a completely different picture. Till now, they have won 20 games and lost just two en route to their successive 5-0 victories over Australia and Germany. With second seeds Japan having defeated the same opponents in twenty straight games to lead standings in Group D, the final fixture becomes all the more thrilling between the two present day powerhouses of badminton.
Looking to gain the early advantage will be star shuttler Saina Nehwal when she hits the court to face World No. 5 Nozomi Okuhara, a rival she’s got a superior tally over, with four wins in their previous five encounters. Next, PV Sindhu’s clash against Akane Yamaguchi will be another cliffhanger with both players looking to avoid losing their first game.
Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponappa have a mammoth task ahead of them with world leaders Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo looking solid to end their winning streak tomorrow. Ruthvika Shivani Gadde has had an amazing run so far at Kunshan, but rival Sayako Sato appears to be the clear favourite in their likely 4th match-up of the day.
In the last contest, it will require another special N Sikki Reddy-PV Sindhu show to overpower Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao for India to head into the knockout stages undefeated in the ongoing 26th edition of Uber Cup.
Uber Cup 2016 Match: India vs Japan
TV Channel: Star Sports 2/Star Sports HD2
Time: 11:00 AM (IST)