It’s like the script they had in 2011. India will face China in the quater-final of the Sudirman Cup on Friday in Gold Coast. Six years ago, it was the Chinese who had beaten India in the knockout stages and once again, India have same opponent.
In 2011, India had moved to the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time. It was historic. This year, they had to play out of their skins to beat Indonesia and book a berth in the knockouts. For the first time in 28-year tournament history, Indonesia have failed to advance from the group stages.
India will once again pin hopes on Rio Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu to inspire the Indian squad to win the tie against Chine. She is likely to face world number six Sun Yu or number seven He Bingjiao in the women’s singles.
In the men’s singles, Rio Olympic champion Chen Long and two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan await the Indian players. Only Kidambi Srikanth has beaten Lin Dan once and India will hope that he can do it again on Friday.
Sindhu has a 3-4 head-to-head record against Sun, having lost to her at the Dubai World Superseries Finals in 2016. Against Bingjiao, Sindhu lost at the Asia Championship last month.
The onus will also be on the doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa Sikki Reddy who are facing world number four pair of Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan. If they do not face them, Bao Yixin and Tang Jinhua are also a big threat to India.
In the men’s doubles, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will have a tough task at hand as they face world number three pair of Liu Yuchen and Li Junhui. Even the second pair of Zhang Nan and Fu Haifeng has done well.
In the mixed doubles, Ashwini will team up with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and will look to challenge the world number two pair of Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong.