India, on Monday, crashed out of the 2023 Sudirman Cup with a loss against Malaysia in their second successive Group C loss. Chinese Taipei and Malaysia advance to the quarterfinals from the four-team group.
India entered the must-win tie against Malaysia with a surprising mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Dhruv Kapila. The players originally named for women's doubles and men's doubles respectively ended up taking the court instead of Tanisha Crasto and Sai Pratheek, who played against Chinese Taipei on Sunday.
Ponnappa and Kapila's lack of game-time with each other was the full display as they went down 16-21, 17-21 against Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie without troubling the Malaysians much.
The experienced Kidambi Srikanth, who replaced HS Prannoy in the lineup, then went down against a higher ranked Lee Zii Jia 16-21, 11-21 as the onus to salvage India's crashing campaign fell on the shoulders of PV Sindhu.
The double Olympic medallist started strongly and won the first game 14-21 against Goh Jin Wei - a shuttler the Indian had not lost to before today. But what followed was something very strange.
PV Sindhu suddenly seemed to have lost her rhythm when she came out in the second game with Goh Jin Wei landing her drop shots to perfection. The Indian went from trailing 6-11 at the mid-game break to surrendering the second game 21-10.
The decider started off even worse for Sindhu as she went down 2-11 at the change of sides. A lot of motivation by the coach from the sidelines saw the Indian fight back and draw things level at 19-19.
She then saved a match point after the world number 30 took a 20-19 lead, and let out a roar for the first time in the day. That joy did not last for long though as Goh Jin Wei soon pocketed the next two points to take the decider 22-20 and registered her first career win over PV Sindhu.