Sudirman Cup 2017: PV Sindhu the lone bright spot in India’s 1-4 loss to Denmark
Rio Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu brought the only cheer on an otherwise disappointing day for the Indian contingent at the Sudirman Cup 2017 in Gold Coast, Australia on Monday. India lost 1-4 to second seeds and two-time runners-up Denmark in their Group D opener with the World No. 4 Sindhu delivering the solitary win.
India next take on former champions Indonesia in their second group encounter on Tuesday.
With top-10 players in every category except the women’s singles, the Danes were always going to be formidable opponents for India, who hadn’t even progressed to the knock-out stages in the last two editions.
India, however, did start their challenge with some gutsy play as veteran Ashwini Ponnappa and young Satwiksairaj Rankireddy teamed up to take a game off the World No. 5 duo of Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen in mixed doubles.
The Indian pair ultimately fell short as the London Olympic bronze medallists regrouped in the decider to eke out the win, 21-15, 16-21, 21-17 in 1 hour 10 minutes.
The India No. 1 men’s singles player – Ajay Jayaram – was then up against the third-ranked Viktor Axelsen. Considering that he had upset the Rio Olympic bronze medallist at the Malaysia Open in April, a lot was expected from the 13th ranked Indian. But it turned out to be a completely one-sided affair, thoroughly dominated by the young Dane, who raced to a 21-12, 21-7 victory.
In men’s doubles, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy led 4-1 in the second game only to go down 17-21, 15-21 to the World No. 2 pair of Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen.
Sindhu then took the court against the 26th ranked Line Kjaersfeldt. The Danish girl produced some spirited resistance in the first game but was completely blown off the court in the second game in an 18-21, 6-21 loss to the Indian in 32 minutes.
In the final match of the tie, Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy faced off against the second ranked Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Pedersen. Having met Pedersen earlier in the day in the mixed doubles, it was up to Ponnappa to make it tough for the Danes and she succeeded.
The Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold runners-up made an amazing start by pocketing the first game following which the Danish team stormed back to force a decider. The third game turned out to be a thriller, replete with some brilliant shotmaking from both teams before Pedersen and Rytter Juhl narrowly edged out the Indian duo, 18-21, 21-15, 23-21 to help Denmark record a 4-1 triumph.Published 22 May 2017, 16:18 IST