The Indian badminton team, led by Saina Nehwal and K Srikanth, will face three-time champions Korea in a must-win clash of Group 1D in the prestigious Sudirman Cup on Wednesday.
India, who reached the knockout stage of the biennial tournament in 2011 edition, lost 2-3 to Malaysia in their campaign opener on Monday and another loss will end their chances of making the quarterfinals.
It will be an uphill task for the Indian team as Korea are a formidable side with World No. 5 Wan Ho Son and World No. 7 Sung Ji Hyun likely to turn up for the men’s and women’s singles match respectively.
If Srikanth and Saina can earn India wins in singles, it will come down to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games silver medallists Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa to do the unenviable task of taming the World No. 8 pair of Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan in the women’s doubles.
Expecting a favourable result in men’s doubles and mixed doubles will be too ambitious as Korea boasts of the World No. 1 Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong and World No. 8 combo of Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na.
The singles are likely to be mouth-watering clashes. Srikanth has beaten Wan twice but he has faced defeats in their last three meetings and the Indian will have to recover quickly from his loss against Lee Chong Wei on Monday.
In women’s singles, Olympic bronze-medallist Saina has a 5-1 record against Hyun but it will not be a cakewalk for the
Indian, who had to break a sweat against world number 56 Tee Jing Yi on Monday.
In women’s doubles, 2011 World Championship bronze medallists, Jwala and Ashwini had lost to Lee and Shin in straight games during German Open in February this year.
Only two teams will qualify from each of the four pools in Group 1 of the knockout stage.
The Sudirman Cup features 35 teams divided into four groups. Of these, the top 12 ranked teams in Group 1 will vie for the trophy, while the other teams (Group 2, 3, 4) will fight for ranking spots.