Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal was forced to retire midway through her opening match but India’s young brigade produced a clinical display to notch up a fine 3-2 win over Spain and make a winning start to their campaign at the Uber Cup Final on Sunday.
Starting the proceedings for India, London Olympics bronze medallist Saina had to concede her match after losing the first game 20-22 against Spain’s Clara Azurmendi as she developed discomfort in her groin area.
However, Malvika Bansod ensured that India quickly recovered from the opening game reversal as she dished out a dominating 21-13 21-15 win over former world No. 20 Beatriz Corrales to bring India at level par with the Spanish team.
Tanisha Crasto and Rutaparna Panda then produced an equally impressive display, completely outplaying Spain’s Paula Lopez and Lorena Usle 21-10 21-8 as India grabbed a 2-1 lead in the five-match rubber.
In the third singles, Aditi Bhatt gave ample display of her talent during the 21-16 21-14 win over Spain’s Ania Setien in the third singles as India sealed the contest 3-1.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallists N Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa, however, could not get past world No. 122 pair of Azurmendi and Corrales, losing 18-21 21-14 17-21 in the second women’s doubles match.
India will face Scotland in their second group B match on Tuesday.