Pride at stake as India take on Germany in last Thomas Cup tie

New Delhi: Already out of quarterfinals reckoning, India will look to restore pride when they take on an equally demoralised Germany in an inconsequential final Group C tie of the Thomas Cup here on Wednesday.

India are hosting the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals for the first time and a lot was expected from the hosts and while the women`s team, led by Saina Nehwal, reached the quarterfinals, Parupalli Kashyap and Co. Failed to cross the group stage on Monday.

The men`s team suffered a 1-4 loss to former champions Malaysia in their campaign opener on Sunday and then went down fighting 2-3 to South Korea at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.
It was the heart-breaking loss of K Srikanth to world no. 9 Wan Ho Son in the first singles, which put paid to India`s hopes as the hosts were looking to win all the three singles.

After a loss against Malaysia`s Wei Feng Chong, Kashyap came good against Lee Dong Keun and R M V Gurusaidutt was consistent with his gritty performances against Daren Liew and Hwang Jong Soo.

"Germany played well against Korea. They have two good singles player in Marc Zwiebler and Dieter Domke. Marc has been consistent over the years to be inside the top 20. He has played here during IBL and Domke is also a good player. Doubles is obviously good," Kashyap said.

"But we are very positive. I will be facing Domke and I have 100 per cent record against him. We will look to get on to a positive note against Germany," he added.

Despite losing their matches so far, the doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, ranked 46th, and the 49th ranked combo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar, have shown sparks of brilliance against higher-ranked combinations from Malaysia and Korea and they would fancy their chances on Wednesday.

Germany, too, have been dependent on their singles, led by Marc Zwiebler, Dieter Domke and Lukas Schmidt. While Marc and Dieter came up with gutsy performances against Korea, Lukas saved them the blushes against Malaysia.

Germany`s doubles pair of Michael Fuchs and Johannes Schoettler are ranked 28th in the world, while Peter Kasbauer and Josche Zurwonne are 40th and they will look to win their doubles ties to earn them two crucial points.

Marc said they would look to win the doubles and a singles against India. "India has got three really really good singles. Their doubles are sort of weak point for India. So we hope to grab the two doubles and then win a single, that would be the aim and dream," Zweibler said.

"We won two singles against Korea and India will be our last match in the tournament. We are motivated to do well," he added.

Zweibler will be taking on K Srikanth, while compatriot Dieter Domke will be up against Parupalli Kashyap. "I have never played him before. He is young and a great talent. I have seen him many times and it will be very hard for me to beat him but I hope I can do so," he said.

India had reached the final stage eight times in Thomas Cup. Even in 1988, when the qualifiers were held in the Indian capital, India had reached the final stage, riding on the performances of Prakash Padukone, late Syed Modi and Vimal Kumar.

Later in 2000, Pullela Gopichand, the current national coach, helped India reach the final stage in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

In 2006, Anup Sridhar, Arvind Bhat and Nikhil Kanetkar helped India reach the quarterfinals. Indian men also reached the last eight in 2010. However, India failed to qualify in the last edition.

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