Sudirman Cup: India go down fighting to Malaysia

Sudirman Cup: India go down fighting to Malaysia
Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy in action during their women's doubles against Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean. AFP

Nanning (China): Sameer Verma suffered a shocking straight-game loss in men's singles on Tuesday as India were stunned 2-3 by a young Malaysia in a group match to jeopardise their hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the Sudirman Cup mixed team championship here on Tuesday.

Mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa produced a brilliant performance to outdo Malaysia's Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie 16-21, 21-17, 24-22 in an hour and 10-minute opening match to give India a 1-0 lead.

But India's decision to field world No. 13 Sameer instead of Kidambi Srikanth in men's singles backfired as the former couldn't get going against Lee Zii Jia, losing 13-21, 15-21 in 48 minutes to allow Malaysia level the scores 1-1.

Olympic and World Championship silver medallist P V Sindhu then steamrolled Goh Jin Wei 21-12, 21-8 in 35  minutes to bring India back on track, but doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy lost narrowly 20-22, 19-21 to Aaron Chia and Teo Ee Yi.

With India and Malaysia level at 2-2, Ashwini once again took the court -- two hours after her mixed doubles match – along with N Sikki Reddy but the women's doubles pair couldn't get across the world No. 13 duo of Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean, losing 11-21, 19-21.

Eighth-seeded India's hopes will now rest on their next match when they take on mighty China on Wednesday.

China boasts of All England champion Chen Yufei and world No. 2 Shi Yuqi besides three formidable doubles pairs -- all figuring the world's top 10 and it will take a miraculous effort from India to overcome the 10-time champions. 

India had reached the quarterfinals in the 2011 and 2017 editions of the Sudirman Cup.