India face mighty China in quarters
Indian shuttlers face a tough draw in the knockout stage of the Sudirman Cup mixed team championship, but national coach P Gopi Chand is not complaining.
India have a chance to vie for the title - however far-fetched it may seem, and that's what Gopi Chand is happy about.
The quarterfinal draw was released on Thursday and India are to take on China in the knockout stage. China defeated Japan 5-0 to finish at the top.
“Thanks to the new format, we have reached so far for the first time. We were stuck at the third level for many years but now we have a chance to compete against the top teams,” he told HT from Qingdao, China, on Wednesday.
India are seeded 10th and have made it to the Elite Group on the basis of their world ranking. India lost the first tie to Chinese Taipei but edged past Thailand 3-2 to finish second in their group.
“We would be looking for a good show from our doubles department. Against Thailand, the men (Rupesh Kumar-Sanave Thomas) and women (Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponnappa) saved the day even though Saina Nehwal lost,” he said. “Mixed doubles has been our strength but we are missing (V) Diju,” he added. Diju, Jwala's mixed doubles partner, is recovering from surgery.
Other teams to make it to the quarters are Denmark, Korea, China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Chinese Taipei.
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- PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth are among players who will feature in the three-leg Asia Series.
- Kenin lost to ninth-seeded Maria Sakkari 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals. Svitolina lost to unseeded Russian Veronika Kudermetova 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
- With big names missing, the focus will be on Narsingh Yadav, who is making a return after serving a four-year doping ban.
- The men’s and women’s camps will resume after the national meet, to be held on January 30 and 31.