Indian men’s team recovered from their dismal showing against France in the opening game to rout Australia 5-0 on Monday to stay in contention for the quarter-finals of the Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok on Monday.
HS Prannoy led the way for India as they overpowered Australia in next to no time, dropping just one game in the five-match tie.
Rested for the tie against France that India lost 1-4 on Sunday, world No 9 Prannoy needed just 32 minutes to defeat Australia’s Joe Anthony after a tight start to the opening game where he was trailing at the mid-game interval. He had much more breathing space in the second game taking a 11-6 lead before wrapping up the match 21-19, 21-13.
In the absence of India’s top two ranked men’s doubles pairs, MR Arjun and Shlok Ramachandran stepped up in the next match of the tie against Matthew Chau and Sawan Serasinghe, winning 21-11, 21-15 in just 27 minutes.
India’s only bright spark on Sunday against France was B Sai Praneeth and the world No 18 put in a ruthless performance, hammering Jacob Schueler 21-9, 21-6 in just 20 minutes to give India an unassailable 3-0 lead in the tie against the Aussies.
The second doubles fixture was the only one that extend beyond half an hour. Arun George and Sanyam Shukla took the first game 21-16 against Australia’s Simon Wing Hang Leung and Raymond Tam but blew a 16-11 lead in the second game to lose 20-22. But they led from start to finish in the decider to eventually wrap up the win in 43 minutes, taking the third game 21-8.
Lakshya Sen, who came in for criticism on the opening day for throwing away a good position in the final singles rubber against France, wasted no time in finishing the deal on Monday. He needed just 23 minutes to get past Kai Chan Teoh 21-5, 21-14.
While the 5-0 win helps them stay afloat, India face the uphill task of getting past top seeds China on Tuesday. The full-strength Chinese team, comprising of Shi Yuqi, Chen Long and Lin Dan are yet to drop a game in the Thomas Cup Group A fixtures. India would still need a miracle to advance.
Earlier in the day, Saina Nehwal led the women’s squad to a 4-1 win over Australia in the Uber Cup fixture. They face top seeds Japan next on Wednesday.
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