Thomas Cup 2016: India start with a loss to Thailand
A weakened Indian team fought valiantly but it was not enough as they slumped to a 2-3 defeat to Thailand in their Group B opener at the BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2016 in Kunshan, China on Sunday. While Sai Praneeth and Sourabh Varma brought home wins in singles, World No. 21 Ajay Jayaram’s massive effort went in vain.
After losing the first game to the 26th ranked Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, Jayaram made a strong comeback to take the second game 21-12. But fatigue crept in for the Indian in the decider and the Thai shuttler could easily exploit it to bag the win in 46 minutes.
Next up was the World No. 20 men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy. The Olympic-bound duo, however, could not put up much resistance against the 29th ranked team of Bodin Issara and Nipitphon Phuangphuapet. The Indians lost the encounter 17-21, 6-21 in 31 minutes and that put India 0-2 down.
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Sai Praneeth then turned in a brilliant performance to put India on the board. The World No. 34 prevailed 21-11, 21-16 over Khosit Phetpradab, who is ranked 64 places below the Indian. The match lasted just 36 minutes.
That win brought a glimmer of hope to the Indian squad and it was then on to the second doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Akshay Dewalkar to deliver a win and level the contest. They went close and took a game off the Thai pair of Puavaranukroh Dechapol and Kedren Kittinupong but ultimately went down 15-21, 21-14, 15-21. It was a marathon 56-minute match.
With India already having lost the tie 1-3, Sourabh Varma came up with a brave display against Adulrach Namkul and won the match narrowly, 21-17, 16-21, 21-19 in 1 hour 4 minutes.
That made the final score of the tie 3-2 in favour of the Thais.
The Indian team is without three of its top four players. While the Rio-bound Kidambi Srikanth is resting after a hectic schedule, Parupalli Kashyap and HS Prannoy are injured.
India next take on Hong Kong on Tuesday.