Badminton: India braces up for tough test at Sudirman Cup
PV Sindhu-spearheaded India face a tough test as they begin their campaign in the Sudirman Cup mixed badminton team championship with a match against Denmark at the Carrara Indoor Sports Stadium here on Monday.
Placed in Group 1D, India have a huge task at hand to advance to the next round, as both Denmark, two-time runners-up, and former champions Indonesia boast of strong all-round teams.
While Sindhu is a guarantee in the women's singles given that Saina Nehwal has pulled out of the tournament, the management will have to pick one between Ajay Jayaram, Parupalli Kashyap and H.S. Prannoy for the men's singles.
Doubles pairs have been putting underwhelming performances and that will be a cause of concern. B. Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Attri are expected to combine for the men's doubles, while the women's doubles pair may see Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy. Sikki is expected to pair with Pranaav Jerry Chopra for the mixed doubles.
India have managed to reach the knockout stage of the tournament only once during the 2011 edition, while in the last two editions they even failed to cross the group stage.
Denmark have two world class singles talents in Viktor Axelsen and Jan O Jorgensen, apart from high-class men's doubles specialists like Mathias Boe, Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Carsten Mogensen. Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen have a superb proven track record in women's doubles which gives the team a great balance.
Group 1 has 12 teams fighting it out for the title. The top two teams of the four sub-groups will qualify for the quarter-finals.