India sailed through the opening day of badminton action in the 2018 Commonwealth Games with identical 5-0 victories over Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the mixed team Group A encounters on Thursday.
The pre-tournament favourites opted to rest world championship silver medallist PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy, who are coming back from injuries, for both the matches and rotated their doubles combinations but that hardly made a different in the overall analysis.
The only time the Indians looked in trouble was the first mixed doubles tie against Sri Lanka where the scratch combination of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and G Ruthvika Shivani had to save a match point in the third game before beating Sachin Dias and Thilini Hendahewa 21-15, 19-21, 22-20 in 57 minutes to give India 1-0 lead.
Six-time Superseries champion K Srikanth then quelled the challenge from Niluka Karunaratne 21-16, 21-10 in 37 minutes. The 25-year-old took some time to settle down in the opening game as Karunaratne was willing to chase down every shuttle.
Gold quest in Gold Coast
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But Srikanth was ready for the game plan as he concentrated on getting the range of his strokes and then went for the kill in the second.
The up and coming men’s doubles combination of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy then ensured a win for India with a 21-17, 21-14 win over Dinuka Karunaratne and Buwaneka Goonethilleka before 2010 women’s singles champion Saina Nehwal crushed Madhushika Beruwelage 21-8, 21-4 to show that she had no starting blues in Gold Coast.
Women’s doubles combination of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy then completed the scoreline with a 21-12, 21-14 win over Hendahewa and Kavidi Sirimannage.
Easy outing against Pakistan
Later in the day, Pakistan pose little trouble for the Indian team with Nehwal once again showing her ruthless streak Mahoor Shahzad 21-7, 21-11 in just 26 minutes while Kidambi Srikanth was slightly stretched before registering a 21-16, 22-20 win over Murad Ali in the men’s singles.
In this tie, singles specialist Ruthvika Shivani teamed up with Ashwini Ponnappa for the women’s doubles but the duo had little trouble in beating Shahzad and Palwasha Bahseer 21-6, 21-10.