Monday, May 22, 2017
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO
Denmark wriggled out of early trouble to beat India and get off to a sound start in their sub-group 1D assignment today at the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017 in Gold Coast.
India had the opportunity to draw first blood but missed narrowly in the opening Mixed Doubles; Denmark needed no second invitation to press on and win the tie 4-1.
India’s new Mixed Doubles pairing Satwicksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa caused early flutters with some feisty play against Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen (featured image). Rankireddy was a revelation, with his powerful smashes causing plenty of damage, while Ponnappa, never known as much of a front court player, kept her end up with some sharp interceptions.
The Indians took the second game and had the edge in the third; the Danes banking on their experience to claw level at 17-all. As with so many matches in their career, Fischer and Pedersen made the right choices at the death – the Indians’ hasty play was their undoing, and the Danes grabbed the crucial lead: 21-15 16-21 21-17.
“It was their experience that made the difference,” Ponnappa said, ruing the missed opportunities. “We made some silly mistakes at the end. Satwick played very well today, he smashes really hard. I’ve always been more of a back court player, but I’ve tried to get used to playing at the front, and with an attacker like him behind me, it’s easier. It was really close today.”
“They came back strong in the second and we struggled to find the right way to play them,” said Pedersen. “In the end it was about who wanted it more.”
Ajay Jayaram had a 3-2 career record against Viktor Axelsen going into their Men’s Singles encounter, but today the Dane blew his opponent off court. The Indian was just not allowed the leeway to play his deceptive game as the Dane kept him constantly under attack; the 21-12 21-7 victory taking just 27 minutes.
Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen wrapped up the tie in Men’s Doubles, overpowering Manu Attri/Sumeeth Reddy 21-17 21-15.
India reduced the deficit in Women’s through Pusarla V Sindhu, and were impressive in the final match as well. Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy had a match point against Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl before the experienced Danes wriggled out of trouble to complete a 18-21 21-15 23-21 victory and hand Denmark the 4-1 margin.
Strong Start by Australia
Hosts Australia overcame a setback in Men’s Singles to beat USA in their sub-group 2B tie, with Sawan Serasinghe and Setyana Mapasa winning both their matches.
Serasinghe and Mapasa took the Mixed Doubles over Vinson Chiu/Jamie Subandhi, but USA levelled the score as Timothy Lam got the better of Anthony Joe, 21-14 21-18.
Serasinghe and Chau ensured the lead once again beating Kyle Emerick/Darren Yang in Men’s Doubles before Wendy Chen got the third point for the hosts in Women’s Singles against Jennie Lai. Mapasa then returned with Gronya Somerville (Women’s Doubles) to overcome Annie Xu/Kerry Xu, 21-15 21-18.
“It’s definitely not easy to play two matches in a session, the Men’s Singles wasn’t long and I had to be back on court quickly,” said Serasinghe. “But we train for this. It’s tough but I’m ready. We had six weeks of training. It’s great to be playing here at home with the crowd cheering for us. This is a young team and it’s the most talented we’ve had in a while. It’s a good chance to top the group.”
Singapore, Macau Win 5-0
Singapore, another prime contender for top honours in Group 2, eased past Austria 5-0 in sub-group 2B.
Austria did trouble Singapore in a couple of matches, with Leon Seiwald taking Ryan Ng to three games (Men’s Singles) and Dominik Stipsits/Roman Zirnwald doing likewise in Men’s Doubles against Terry Hee/Loh Kean Hean. Singapore overcame those threats to finish the tie on a clean slate.
Macau China also wrapped up their sub-group 3A tie against Guam without losing a match. Pang Fong Pui gave Macau China the lead in Men’s Singles, before Chan Kit Lei (Women’s Singles) and Che Pui Ngai/Lam Hou Him (Men’s Doubles) made it 3-0.