ace shuttler Saina Nehwal Forced to retire in the middle of their opening match, India’s youth brigade went clinical to register a resounding 3-2 win over Spain and make a winning start to their campaign in the Uber Cup final here on Sunday. performed.
Opening the proceedings for India, London Olympics bronze medalist Saina had to accept her match after losing the opening game 20-22 against Spain’s Clara Azurmendi as she was suffering from a problem in her groin area.
However, Malvika Bansod ensured that India made a quick recovery from an opening game upset as she registered a 21-13 21-15 win over former world No. 20 Beatriz Corrales to level India at par with the Spanish side.
Tanisha Crasto and Rutaparna Panda then put on equally impressive performances, beating Spain’s Paula López and Lorena Usley 21-10, 21-8 completely to take India 2-1 in the five-match rubber.
In the third singles, Aditi Bhatt displayed her brilliance enough during her 21-16, 21-14 win over Spain’s Ania Setien in the third singles as India sealed the competition 3-1.
Commonwealth Games bronze medalists N Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa, however, could not hold back the world number 122 pair of Azurmendi and Corales 18-21, 21-14, 17-21 in the second women’s doubles match.
India will take on Scotland in their second Group B match on Tuesday.
During the first women’s singles match, Saina had to walk out of court after experiencing a sudden pain in her back.
“There was a definite grip in my waist. I wondered how it happened. I was trying to get my rhythm back and I couldn’t find it and had to give it up because it hurts when I was taking long lunges,” Saina was quoted as saying by olympics.com.
The 31-year-old from Hyderabad said that she will be monitoring her injury over the next few days.
“I guess the next three, four days let’s see how it is. There are two more matches, so I just want to see how it goes. I don’t want to take any sudden decision at this time because my body is feeling good but this problem of waist has to be overcome.
However, it was a pleasant sight to see the youth move forward.
First was left-hander Bansod, who put on a scintillating performance as Corales raced around the court to dominate the proceedings with his angled return.
The Indian entered the break to lead 11-8 before securing nine game points. He missed two chances before sealing the opening game with a perfect net return.
Bansod, who won the Uganda and Lithuanian internationals this year, played some brilliant shots to erase a small deficit at the start of the second game and took an 11-5 advantage at the interval.
Corrales tried to come back in the later stages, but Bansod scored five match points and hit a ferocious smash to seal the contest.
Tanisha and Rutaparna then showed great tactical skills leaving their opponents in awe with their smart badminton. Both dominated the match with their power and accuracy as Paula and Lorena succumbed to a plethora of errors.
Thereafter, Aditi carried the momentum, putting up a scintillating performance as she kept her nose ahead after taking a break at 4-4, despite her opponent snapping at her heels.
She was more comfortable in the second game, eventually progressing in huge strides to seal her comfortably.
The men’s team will take on the Netherlands later in the day.