Badminton at Rio 2016 Olympics got underway on day 6 with Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta getting things underway and crashing to a straight games defeat in their first of three Group A matches. Facing a daunting task of playing number one seeds from Japan Misaki Matsutomo, Ayaka Takahashi, the Indian pairing lost 15-21, 10-21 in just 38 minutes.
The Indians will next be up against the world No.11 Dutch pair of Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek in their second group clash tomorrow. Jwala and Ashwini opened a 4-1 lead but ended up blowing it away in no time after the Japanese pair put across some targetted deep returns which the Indians failed to judge.
The world No.1s, in contrast, were quick on their feet and returned everything that the Indians threw at them. Jwala and Ashwini, who were struggling to coordinate their moves, trailed 8-11 at the first lemon break and could not bridge the gap even once. The Japanese pair produced a couple of brilliant winners — a backhand flick down the line by Matsumoto being particularly impressive — to wrap up the opening game in 19 minutes without breaking much of a sweat.
The second game followed a similar script with Takahashi and Matsumoto racing to a 6-3 lead. The top seeds capitalised on Jwala and Ashwini’s apparent lack of rhythm and managed to send down winners in open gaps. Jwala and Ashwini were found wanting close to the net as well and ended up committing quite a few unforced errors to lose the match rather timidly.