The Weekend Leader - Eyes on Saina's injury as badminton teams get ready for next matches

Eyes on Saina's injury as badminton teams get ready for next matches

Aarhus (Denmark)



After a day's rest, the Indian men and women's badminton teams will get into action in the Thomas and Uber Cup finals here with the focus on Saina Nehwal who struggled with a groin injury in the previous match and had to quit after losing the first game.

Though not a lot is forthcoming on the former World No.1's injury, Saina is likely to be rested for the next match against minnows Scotland in an Uber Cup preliminary round match on Tuesday. The Indian women's team is in a four-team group with Thailand, Spain, and Scotland as other members. India can afford to give Saina another day of rest on Tuesday so that she can regain her fitness ahead of tougher matches.

India had started their campaign with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Spain while Thailand had blanked Scotland 5-0. Beating Scotland will mean India will virtually seal their place in the knockout rounds as two teams will qualify from the group for the knockout rounds. India will take on a strong Thailand side to decide the top position.

In Saina's absence, a lot will depend on Malavika Bansod and Aditi Bhatt in the first two singles. India will also be hoping that the top women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy get into winning ways before the tougher matches in the knockout rounds. Ashwini and Sikki had lost to Spain's Clara Azurmendi and Beatriz Corrales of Spain in the first match.

Meanwhile, Indian badminton fans will hope that the rest she has had since Sunday morning is sufficient that Saina can come out firing on all cylinders in the next match.

While the women's team management is keeping an eye on Saina's injury, things went off as smoothly as possible for the men's team as it started its campaign with a comprehensive 5-0 win against the Netherlands in the Thomas Cup on Sunday night.

India had put up a full-strength squad against the weak Netherlands team to give the players an easy opening to get into the rhythm.

Kidambi Srikanth had an easy outing in the first singles as he beat Joran Kweekel 21-12, 21-14. B Sai Praneeth and the doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty too won in straight games, thus getting into a rhythm without much trouble.

With the Indian team clubbed with powerhouse China in Group C, the team will be hoping to conserve their energies for the knockout stage as they will meet a strong opponent in the knockout.

India will take on lowly Tahiti in their second match in the Group C and will be hoping for another 5-0 win like China did against the same opponent - IANS

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