Gold Coast: India blanked Scotland 5-0 to enter the quarterfinals of the badminton mixed team event, displaying tremendous form en route to their third successive clean sweep at the Commonwealth Games here today.
London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal gave India a 1-0 lead after easily defeating Julie Macpherson 21-14, 21-12 in the women's singles match before World No.2 Kidambi Srikanth outclassed Kieran Merrilees 21-18, 21-2 in men's singles to power India to a 2-0 lead.
The duo of N Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa led India's charge in women's doubles before Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty helped India win in men's doubles.
The pairing of Pranaav Chopra and Reddy pulled off a win in the mixed doubles category to complete yet another thumping win for the Indian badminton team.
India had beaten Sri Lanka and Pakistan by a similar margin on the first competition day. Ashwini and Sikki Reddy crushed Kirsty Gilmour and Eleanor O'Donnell 21-8, 21-12.
Satwik and Shetty then made it 4-0 in India's favour by getting the better of Patrick Machugh and Adam Hall 21-16, 21-19 while the mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry and Sikki Reddy beat Martin Campbell and Julie Macpherson 21-17, 21-15.
Even as her Scottish opponent tried her best, World No. 12 Saina made the first match look easy and eventually one-sided, using her experience to good effect in demolishing Macpherson. Made to toil a bit in the first game, Saina got better in the second and went to the breather with a 11-5 lead before extending it to 16-5.
The former World No. Indian clinch it in her favour in 36 minutes. In the men's singles, Srikanth failed to get off to a convincing start, trailing 1-4 to Merrilees, who extended his lead further to 8-5.
The Indian, however, managed to rally and closed out the first game at 21-18, taking 21 minutes. In the second game, Srikanth was in red-hot form as he raced to a 11-0 lead at the break before making it 17-1.
The winner of multiple Superseries titles took just 10 minutes to decimate Merrilees. A strong foundation was laid and India extend their dominance in the doubles.
On his performance, Srikanth said, "I was really happy with the way I played. The first set was tough and I was expecting the same sort of fight in the second set too."
Asked about India's form at the Games, he said, "The team is doing really well. We closed out some really close matches yesterday. Saina pulled out a really great match today as well." "These results are certainly going to boost the team's confidence ahead of the coming battles."
And on India's chances of winning the mixed team event, Srikanth said, "I can't really say for sure. I really want to win but I haven't really set a target for myself.