Host nation England and medal favourites Malaysia picked up two 5-0 results on the opening day of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The comprehensive wins – against Barbados and Mauritius for England and Zambia and Jamaica for Malaysia – sent both nations into the Mixed Team quarterfinals on Day 1 of badminton action itself.
World No.11 mixed pair Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith got the ball rolling in Group B with a 21-5 21-9 win over Barbadians Shae Michael Martin/Sabrina Scott before Toby Penty (men’s singles), Freya Redfearn (women’s singles), Ben Lane/Sean Vendy (men’s doubles) and Chloe Birch/Jessica Pugh (women’s doubles) sealed straight games victories.
Penty, Patel-Redfearn and Lane/Vendy later returned to contribute a point each against Mauritius. Pugh combined with Callum Hemming to see off Aatish Lubah/Lorna Bodha 21-1 21-13 while old mates Birch and Smith defeated Kobita Dookhee and Bodha 21-4 21-8.
Also through to the knockout rounds alongside England are Singapore, who thrashed the same opponents 5-0. They meet England today to decide the group winners.
In Group D, the Malaysians hardly broke a sweat as they cruised past Zambia 5-0 courtesy of Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing, Ng Tze Yong, Goh Jin Wei, Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik and Tan Pearly/Thinaah Muralitharan. The line-up – bar Tan and Lai who were replaced by Chan Peng Soon/Cheah Yee See – then beat Jamaica by the same scoreline in the evening.
Meanwhile, Australia left themselves with a mountain to climb in Group A after suffering a surprise 3-2 loss to Sri Lanka.
Ying Xiang Lin/Gronya Somerville’s 21-18 21-14 defeat to Sachin Dias/Thilini Hendahewa and Nathan Tang’s 21-18 21-12 reverse against veteran Niluka Karunaratne left them 2-0 down.
Women’s singles player Wendy Chen put a point back on the board with 21-10 21-13 win over Suhasni Vidanage but Karunaratne and Dias beat Tran Hoang Pham/Jack Yu in mixed doubles to clinch the tie.
Somerville and Chen contributed Australia’s second point by overcoming Hendahewa/Vidanage 21-18 21-14.
Group A: India bt Pakistan 5-0
Group C: Scotland bt Maldives 5-0, Canada bt Uganda 5-0
Group D: South Africa bt Jamaica 3-2, South Africa bt Zambia 4-1