Group C was expected to be the hardest-fought of the four groups at the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2023, and the tie in the opening session between Chinese Taipei and India lived up to that expectation. Chinese Taipei did pass their opening test with flying colours against India 4-1, but with some luck the Indians could well have nicked a couple of the matches they lost.
As it turned out, however, Chinese Taipei did well to sail through safely in testy waters, particularly in the opening match when Yang Po-Hsuan and Hu Ling Fang saved match point against scratch pair Sai Pratheek and Tanisha Crasto in the second game.
“We escaped in the second, it was a close call,” smiled Yang.
After Chou Tien Chen made it 2-0 over Prannoy H. S., Pusarla V. Sindhu played one of her best matches against Tai Tzu Ying, against whom she has a 5-17 record. The Indian moved well, hit powerful winners, and until 14 in the third was very much in the hunt for her first win against the trickster in eight matches. However, Tai raised her game in time, coming up with outrageous winners to win a streak of points at the end and take the contest away from Pusarla.
After Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty too fell in a close fourth match, 21-18 in the third to Lee Yang/Ye Hong Wei, Treesa Jolly/Gayatri Gopichand Pullela finally put the Indians on the scorecard.
The Indian women’s doubles duo didn’t allow the loss of the tie to affect their morale and they recovered well from a first-game deficit to power through comfortably in the end.
“We’d lost the tie, we were 4-0 down, but we had to give it 100 per cent because it’s a group tie, and all the matches count,” said Pullela, playing her first Sudirman Cup tie.
Korea Too Strong for France
France’s hopes of an upset over Korea hinged on the opening mixed doubles. However, with Kim Won Ho/Jeong Na Eun chalking up a straight-games win over Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue, it was going to be an uphill battle for France, although Christo Popov put them level in the men’s singles.
“I’m happy to bring the first point for France because we didn’t start the way we wanted. We believed the mixed doubles would win for France,” said Popov.
Malaysia Blank Australia
Malaysia had little trouble against Australia in a Group C tie they were expected to win. Only Tiffany Ho, in women’s singles, came close to taking a game as she led Letshanaa Karupathevan by a bit in the opening game, but the Malaysian closed out the contest in straight games.