India’s Sudirman Cup chances suffered a major blow when they squandered a good start and went down 3-2 against Malaysia 3-2 in their opening encounter in Nanning on Tuesday.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, returning after an injury gap, teamed up with Ashwini Ponappa to set up a 16-21, 21-17, 24-22 win over SJ Lai and SH Goh in the mixed doubles event as India took the lead.

Malaysia soon drew level through world No. 20 Lee Zii Jia upsetting Sameer Verma 13-21, 15-21 in straight games during the men’s singles.

But BWF World Tour Finals winner PV Sindhu doubled India’s advantage to 2-1 after outplaying Goh Jin Wei 21-12, 21-8.

In the men’s doubles match, B Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Attri went down 20-22, 19-21 to Aaron Chia and Teo Ee Yi.

The Indian duo had saved five match points in the second game but that was not enough as Malaysia clawed their way back, drawing 2-2.

India had their hopes pinned on women’s doubles pair of Ponappa and N Sikki Reddy but they lost the match 11-21, 19-21 to Lee Meng Yean and Chow Mei Kuan as Malaysia completed an incredible fight back.

India, who had reached the quarter-finals twice in the 2011 and 2017 editions, will now lock horns against China in a must-win battle.