India and Korea have lived up to the reputation of being the favourites in Group D to progress to the quarter-final stages of the ongoing inaugural Asia Mixed Team Championships in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The two teams have thrashed minnows Singapore in their respective group ties to make the progress to the next round.
Later today, both teams will face each other in the penultimate group match of the tournament in battle for group supremacy. While second seed Korea are favourite to top the group, India, despite not having Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, are no pushovers.
India's Men's singles unit is spearheaded by last year's Hong Kong Open runner-up Sameer Verma, who began the new season by winning a Grand Prix Gold title at home [Syed Modi Championships]. World number 24 HS Prannoy, who was unbeaten throughout his Premier Badminton League campaign, is also part of the team and is likely to play the singles rubber today. While Jeon Hyeok Jin played the opening tie for South Korea, world number four Son Wan Ho might take the court today to make things difficult for India.
India also have a strong Women's doubles pairing in Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponappa but the duo will face stiff competition from world number four pairing of Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee, who took only 23 minutes to win their match against Singapore on Tuesday.
India, who are eyeing an upset win against the group favourites, will bank on their world number 23 Men's doubles pair of Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Attri to clinch a crucial win against lower-ranked Korean pairing of Solgyu Choi and Kim Gi Jung.
Possible Line-up: HS Prannoy (MS), Rituparna Das (WS), Manu Attri/Sumeeth Reddy (MD), Ashwini Ponappa/Sikki Reddy (WD), Sikki Reddy/Pranav Chopra (XD)
Possible Line-up: Jeon Hyeok Jin (MS), Sung Ji Hyun (WS), Solgyu Choi/Kim Gi Jung (MD), Na Chang Ye/Lee So Hee (WD), Kim Ha Na/Yoo Yeon Seong (XD)
TV Schedule [Available from quarter-final]
Singapore: Eleven Sports
Malaysia: Astro Supersport 4
India: Star Sports