Australia’s Mixed Team campaign came to an end this evening as they fell to the defending champions and top seeds, India, in the final Group A match.
Fielding one of their strongest teams possible, the Indian team denied Australia any miracle prospects, securing a third consecutive victory in Group A to cement a top place finish and a more favoured draw in the knockout stages which begin tomorrow.
Opening with the men’s singles, Lin Ying Xiang had a hard task ahead as his opponent came in the shape of world number 11, Srikanth Kidambi. In the opening game, Lin kept up a solid pace to contend with the Indian shuttler, but Srikanth eventually ran away with the tie in two games.
Srikanth Kidambi (IND) vs Lin Ying Xiang (AUS) 21-14 21-12
“It was exciting to play against him, but definitely a really hard match for me as I don’t usually get to play these kinds of players in Australia”, says Lin
In the women’s singles, it was a similar fate for Oceania’s reigning champion Wendy Chen, who was up against the world number 7, 2019 World Champion, Rio 2016 silver/Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist, Pusarla Venkata Sindhu. The pair also met in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (individual quarterfinals) and today P.V.Sindhu repeated her success to win in two games.
P.V. Sindhu (IND) vs Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen (AUS) 21-10 21-12
“It was difficult for me to get used to the height of her. She’s really tall and she cuts the shuttle down and I had trouble with the stadium, she hits the shuttle very high and I had a bit of trouble with the drift. Strategically I could probably do better. It’s great preparation for the individuals so I will be able to reflect on that”, says Wendy
18-year-old Jack Yu has already made his presence felt among the team, stating how he is enjoying every moment playing on one of the world’s biggest stages. This evening, he was able to contend in one of the biggest matches of his career so far, against world number 8 duo, Reddy and Shetty, of India.
The new pairing of Tran and Jack may not have been able to seal a victory against the higher ranked pair, but two highly respectable games (leading at moments) provides them with plenty to reflect on and great preparation for their campaign in next week’s individual event.
B.Sumeeth Reddy/Chirag Shetty (IND) Tran Pham/Jack Yu (AUS) 21-16 21-19
“I think we are working better as a pair now and I think we understand each other. Even under a little bit of pressure we are finding more ways to work better together”, says Tran
“It felt really great. It gave me an image of what it’s like to play at such a high standard. Obviously, India are among the best in the world and to really have a go and get such a close score and really give them a challenge was quite a good experience for me”, says Jack
Meanwhile, Wendy and Gronya produced an astonishing win in the women’s doubles to produce one of their best results ever as a pair. With nothing to lose, the underdogs saw off the challenge from India’s world number 39 duo in two thrilling games.
Wendy Chen/Gronya Somerville (AUS) vs Treesa Jolly/Gayatri Pullela (IND) 21-13 21-19
Gronya soon returned to the court for the mixed doubles alongside Lin Ying Xiang, taking on the world number 27 pair. While the Australian pair remained in contention throughout the opening stages, the pair were not able to produce the same shock upset, bringing the tie to an end with a 4-1 victory for India.
B.Sumeeth Reddy/Ashwini Ponnappa (IND) vs Lin Ying Xiang/Gronya Somerville (AUS) 21-14 21-11
Overall, the team’s results of one win and two losses (to Sri Lanka and India) leaves Australia in third position of Group A, unable to qualify for the knockout rounds.
All ten players from the Australian team will return to action from Wednesday 3 August as the individual events get underway.
Follow all results from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on the official website here.