Saina Nehwal guided the Indian women’s team to a crushing 5-0 win over Canada to launch their Uber Cup campaign in style but their men's counterpart came a cropper against former champions Malaysia as they suffered a crushing 1-4 defeat in Thomas Cup in New Delhi.
After RMV Gurusaidutt salvaged some pride for the Indian mean with a hard-fought win in the third singles in group C, home stars Saina and P V Sindhu enthralled the handful of crowd with their dominating performance at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.
Skipper Saina first started the proceedings with an easy 21-4, 21-12 win over Joycelyn Ko in 25 minutes and Sindhu then brushed off the initial jitters to crush Rachael Honderich 21-16, 21-3 in a 26-minute lop-sided second singles match.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa then completed the rout with a 21-11, 21-12 Win over Bruce Alex and Phyllis Chan in the first women’s doubles.
Playing the third singles, P C Thulasi then spanked Brittney Tam 21-11, 21-13 to make it 4-0 in India's favour.
Doubles pair of Pradnya Gadre and Sikki Reddy N then bounced back from a game down to edge out Grace Gao and Rachael Honderich 20-22, 21-18, 21-16 to complete the whitewash. The Indian eves will next take on Hong Kong.
Earlier, promising shuttler Gurusaidutt was the only bright spot on an otherwise dismal day for the Indian men’s team.
Playing the first singles, Kidambi Srikanth saved five game points in the opening game before going down fighting to world No 1 Lee Chong Wei 19-21, 12-21 in a 35-minute match, while doubles pair of B Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Attri were thrashed 14-21, 11-21 by Boon Heong Tan and Thien How Hoon in the first doubles match as India trailed 0-2.
Skipper Parupalli Kashyap then took the court to play the second singles but the Indian failed to gauge the game plan of his rival, Chong Wei Feng to eventually suffer a 13-21, 6-21 loss as India lost the rubber 0-3.
Indian men's doubles pair of Akshay Dewalkar and Pranaav Jerry Chopra then briefly conjured up hopes of an upset win against V Shem Goh and Wee Kiong Tan when they grabbed the second game but it ended with a 17-21, 21-14, 14-21 loss for the Indians in a 47 minute match as Malaysia continued their domination.
Finally, it was left to World No. 30 RMV Gurusaidutt to salvage some pride and the Indian lived up to the expectation as he produced a gallant fight to edge out world number 66 Daren Liew 18-21, 21-13, 21-19 in a match that lasted more than an hour.
The Indian men's team will now take on South Korea. Guru played a fighting game and was in control in the first game but Daren managed to nose ahead in the fag end to earn the bragging rights.
In the second game, Guru, however, was leading 12-5 initially and though Liew narrowed the gap, Guru successfully managed to stave off the fightback and bounced back into the contest.
In the decider, Liew was 11-8 up at the interval but Guru kept breathing down his neck moving to 16-18. The Indian then grabbed a couple of points to draw parity. The Indian kept the pressure on his rival to eventually came up trumps when Liew hit long.
In first singles, Srikanth was lagging 4-11 at the break and Lee comfortably kept his distance from the Indian after the interval to quickly reach 20-14. However, the Indian fought back to save five game points before the Malaysian pocketed the game with a back hand smash.
The second game was a close affair till 10-9 before Lee once again zoomed ahead with a flurry of points to comfortably win eventually.
In the other Group C match, Korea had to twice come back from behind to beat Germany 3-2. The Koreans were bailed out by their doubles stars after Mark Zwiebler and Dieter Domke had put the Germans ahead with clinical victories in first and second singles.
In the Uber Cup event, defending champions China, Japan, Korea and Indonesia sailed through their opening encounters.
Image: Saina Nehwal
Photograph: Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images for SSC