India blanks Sri Lanka in badminton team opener

Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal posted easy wins, while Pranaav Chopra and Ruthvika Gadde toiled harder than they were expected to, to beat Sachin Dias and Thilini Pramodika.

Saina Nehwal dispatched Madushika Beruelage in 22 minutes.   -  PTI

Indian shuttlers were off to an expectedly good start as they defeated Sri Lanka in a largely lop-sided preliminary clash of the Commonwealth Games mixed team event here today.

The Indians, spearheaded by Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth in singles today, were billed to dominate the tie and this is precisely what they did with a 5-0 win. The only match where they were pushed to a degree was the mixed doubles.


Pranaav Chopra and Ruthvika Gadde opened the proceedings against Sachin Dias and Thilini Pramodika and the Indian pair had to toil a little more than anticipated to prevail 21-15 19-21 22-20 in a match which lasted nearly an hour.

However, Srikanth brought the momentum back by dispatching Niluka Karunaratane in straight games. The men’s singles top seed won 21-16 21-10.

The men’s doubles pair of Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty made a successful CWG debut, taking down Dinuka Karunaratna and Buwaneka Goonethillkea 21-17 21-14.

Next player in was Saina and she didn’t give much time or effort in annihilating Madushika Beruelage 21-8 21-4 in a 22-minute appearance.

The star shuttler was caught in a controversy recently when she threatened to pull out of the Games if her father Harvir Singh wasn’t accommodated at the CWG athletes village.

Singh was there in the stands to watch her today although he wasn’t seated with the Indian team due to his status of being an extra official.

“It is nice to get used to the court conditions. The Commonwealth Games is very prestigious for all of the countries, and for India, we are trying our level best and I just want to be focused and concentrate on all of my matches,” Saina said after her match.

“I expected that she would give me a tough fight. When you play someone who is lower-ranked, it is tough, because there is great expectation from you,” she added.

Asked about India’s prospects in the event, Saina said, “I hope that the whole team can play well. We are not thinking too much about the semis and finals.”

In the last match of the tie, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy defeated Thilini Pramodika and Kavidi Siriannage 21-12 21-14.

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