Gopichand confident of making last-8 of Thomas and Uber Cup

PTI| Updated: Mar 30, 2014, 20:38 PM IST

New Delhi: Indian men have been drawn alongside heavy-weight Malaysia and Germany, while women`s pool features Thailand in the Thomas and Uber Cups to be held here from May 18-25, here.

India have a slightly tough draw in the men`s section, which include Korea besides Malaysia and Germany while the eves group include Canada and Hong Kong.
But national coach Pullela Gopichand said he is confident of making into last-8 round of both men`s and women`s competition.

"I won`t expect easy draws here at the Thomas and Uber Cups. If you look at the men`s draw its is on the tougher side but all matches would be good. Except for Lee Chong Wei there, every singles match we have a chance," Gopichand told reporters at the Draw Ceremony of the prestigious event.

"On the women`s side, if we wouldn`t have drawn Hong Kong it would have been better. But Hong Kong doesn`t have so much depth. I think we should get into the last-eight stages here," the former All England Open Badminton Championships winner said.

This will be first time India will be hosting the Thomas and Uber Cups, at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here. Top-16 teams from across the globe will battle for the trophy - Thomas Cup for men`s and Uber Cup for women`s.

Asked about India`s chances from doubles competition, Gopichand said, "Men`s doubles we have a decent chance against Germany, against Malaysia will be tough, Korea as well will be difficult. But the fact that they have broken combinations might favour us. We might do well in the doubles as well."

"The group A and Group B are slightly easier, ours is little tough draw. Having said that I don`t see ourselves playing China and Indonesia which are really strong team, doubles for them are more formidable."

On youngster Sourabh Verma, who missed out on his maiden Grand Prix Gold title today, Gopichand said: "It`s was a close match. It`s a good performance by him. I am happy that he is becoming more consistent. It shows that we as a country are producing players like Srikanth, Kashyap and Arvind who are doing well at the international stage.

Sourabh suffered a heartbreak in the men`s singles final of the Malaysia Grand Prix Gold as he went down fighting in a three-game thriller against Simon Santoso of Indonesia here today.

The coach said star Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal will be at her best in the upcoming BWF India Super Series starting April 1 here.

"She (Saina) is getting better. She is completely fit. I see positive results coming for her. A couple of wins and her confidence will be back," he concluded.