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India beat Scotland 4-1 in Uber Cup group match

Aarhus (Denmark), Oct 12 (IANS) With former World No 1 Saina Nehwal sitting out with a groin injury, India handed lowly Scotland a 4-1 defeat in a Group B match at the Uber Cup finals, coming back after losing the first singles in the second match in a row.

With Saina still to recover from the groin injury she suffered during India's opening match against Spain, Malvika Bansod played the first singles but found World No. 26 Kirsty Gilmour too strong an opponent. The 104-ranked Malvika went down 12-21, 9-21 in just 39 minutes. Saina had retired after losing the first game to Spain's Clara Azurmendi on Sunday.

ON Tuesday, Aditi Bhatt, ranked 10th in the juniors list and playing her first major singles team event, levelled the scores by beating the 237-ranked Rachel Sugden 21-14, 21-8 -- the 18-year-old Indian getting the better of the 19-year-old Scot who has around 86 wins on the circuit in all sections. The women's doubles pair of Tanisha Crasto andRituparna Panda made it 2-1 in favour of India by defeating Julia MacPherson and Ciara Torrance 21-11, 21-8 in a 34-minute encounter.

India sealed the tie 3-1 when Tasnim Mir defeated Lauren Middleton 21-15, 21-6 in the third singles.

India also decided to rest the seasoned doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy and instead sent in their third-choice pair of Treesa Jolly and Pullela Gayatri Gopichand, who defeated Kirsty Gilmour and Eleanor O'Donnell in three games, 21-8, 18-21, 21-10 to seal a 4-1 win for India.

India, who started their campaign with a 3-2 win against Spain in their opening match, are placed second behind Thailand in Group B with two points from two matches. Thailand lead the group with two 5-0 wins against Scotland and Spain. Spain and Scotland have lost both their matches and are out of contention for the knockout competitions from this group.

India will play Thailand on Wednesday to decide the winner of the Group. The top position in the group will ensure a comparatively lower-ranked opponent in the knockouts. But India may find Thailand a tough nut to crack even with the return of Saina and the top doubles pair of Ashwini and Sikki.