The Indian women’s badminton team overcame their 4-1 loss to Canada in the opening Uber Cup group tie by beating Australia by a similar margin on Monday.
Doubles pair of J Meghana and Poorvisha S Ram were the only Indians who ended up on the losing side, as the rest won their matches in straight games.
Saina Nehwal had no trouble against world No 80 Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen in the first game, winning it 21-14, but the Australian put up a better fight in the second. The world No 10 from India fell behind 12-16 in the second game but managed to move up a gear in the latter stages to bring the scores back level 17-17. Nehwal went on to take the game 21-19 and give India a 1-0 lead in the tie.
Meghana and Poorvisha then conceded sizeable leads in both their games against Gronya Somerville and former Malaysia international Renuga Veeran. The Indians were leading 8-3 in the first game but went on to lose it 13-21. In the second game, the Indians were ahead 7-2 but still lost it 16-21.
Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka then came up against Jennifer Tam and the Australian started off as the better of the two shuttlers, taking a 11-7 lead into the interval of the first game. However, Tam just switched off after that and committed one too many unforced error to concede the first game 21-17. It was more of the same in the second game, as Tam gifted points to Reddy who was only glad to accept them. The 16-year-old Indian was hardly stretched as she won 21-17, 21-13 to give India a 2-1 lead.
Prajakta Sawant and Sanyogita Ghorpade then sealed the tie for India by beating Louisa Ma and Ann-Louise Slee 21-19, 21-11. Anura Prabhudesai stretched India’s winning scoreline to 4-1 as she coasted through her match against Zecily Fung. Prabhudesai needed only 18 minutes to beat Fung 21-6, 21-7.
The 4-1 win kept India alive in the race to the quarter-finals, but Nehwal and Co face and uphill task to beat five-time champions Japan, who have fielded a full-strength team. Japan have beaten Australia and Canada both 5-0 in Group A so far.