China’s quest for a ninth title started emphatically this afternoon as they blanked a young Indian squad 5-0 in a Level 1 Group A tie of the Li-Ning BWF Sudirman Cup at Putra Stadium in Malaysia.
Other winners in the opening session included Denmark, the Philippines, Scotland and Sri Lanka.
The closest tie was the Level 3 Group A clash between New Zealand and the Philippines. The lead shifted between the countries, with the Philippines eventually coming from a game down to win the final rubber. New Zealand went 1-0 up when brother-sister combo, Oliver Leydon-Davis/Susannah Leydon-Davis (top left), won the Mixed Doubles over Mark Shelley Alcala/Gelita Castilo 21-18 21-17, but the Philippines won the two singles encounters to go 2-1 up. The Kiwis levelled 2-2 when Kevin Dennerly-Minturn/Oliver Leydon-Davis won the Men’s Doubles over Antonino Benjamin Gadi/Mark Shelley Alcala 21-17 16-21 21-15. In Women’s Doubles, Gelita Castilo/Nicole Magno Dia beat Amanda Brown/Kritteka Gregory 17-21 21-17 21-15 to give the Philippines a great start.
Elsewhere, India were without Saina Nehwal’s services, sidelined with a foot injury. The young pair Tarun Kona/Ashwini Ponnappa was overwhelmed by Olympic Mixed Doubles champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei in 29 minutes, 21-10 21-13. China’s Chen Long took half-hour to beat Kashyap Parupalli (21-11 21-9) for the fifth time.
Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Akshay Dewalkar fought well as they dominated the early proceedings against All England and India Open champions Qiu Zihan/Liu Xiaolong in Men’s Doubles (BWF home page). Eventually, the Chinese took the first game 25-23 and held off the Indians in the second (21-18) to seal the tie for the Sudirman Cup holders (China: team photo below).
In the remaining two inconsequential matches, recent Malaysian Open GP Gold winner PV Sindhu took world No. 3 Wang Yihan the distance in Women’s Singles before losing 19-21 21-16 21-14. Women’s Doubles No. 1 Yu Yang/ Wang Xiaoli sealed the 5-0 team score, ousting Ashwini Ponnappa/Pradnya Gadre, 21-18 21-11.
The other Level 1 match featured Denmark easing past Singapore, 4-1. Meanwhile, in Level 3 Group A, Sri Lanka held off a combative Turkey 3-2. Scotland upset Russia 4-1 in the final afternoon match in Level 2 Group A.
* For Li-Ning BWF Sudirman Cup 2013 schedule and results, click here.