Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Saina, Sindhu, Srikanth win opening matches, Sen makes first round exit

Saina Sindhu

Manila (Philippines), April 27: Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal fought off strong challenge from their opponents before winning their respective opening matches, but it was curtains for Lakshya Sen and B Sai Praneeth in Badminton Asia Championships here on Wednesday.
Two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu was made to toil hard by Chinese Taipei’s Pai Yu Po as the fourth seeded Indian came back from a game down to win 18-21 27-25 21-9 in a marathon women’s singles opening round match, which lasted for one hour and 17 minutes.
London Olympics bronze medallist Saina, who has been on a comeback trail after recovering from some nagging injuries, also had to break her sweat to eke out a 21-15 17-21 21-13 win over Sim Yujin of South Korea.
While Sindhu will next play Singapore’s Yue Yann Jaslyn Hooi, Saina will be up against China’s Zhi Yi Wang.
The other remaining Indian in the women’s singles, Malvika Bansod too squandered a game lead before going down 9-21 21-17 26-24 against Yeo Jia Min of Singapore in another hard-fought tie.
It turned out to be a disappointing outing for world championships bronze medal winner Sen, who was stunned by the unseeded Li Shi Feng of China.
The fifth seeded Indian lost 21-12 10-21 19-21 in his opening round men’s singles tie that lasted 56 minutes.
World No. 19 Sai Praneeth suffered a straight game 17-21 13-21 defeat against Jonatan Christie of Indonesia.
Seventh seeded Kidambi Srikanth, however, kept India’s flag flying in the men’s singles competition by progressing to the second round with a straight-game win over Tze Yong Ng of Malaysia.
Srikanth defeated his rival 22-20 21-15 to set up a clash against Chinese qualifier Weng Hong Yang in the second round.
It was also the end of the road for Aakarshi Kashyap, who lost 15-21 9-21 to Japanese top seed Akane Yamaguchi in the women’s singles.
Both the women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Bhat K and Shikga Gautam, and Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker also made opening round exits after losing in straight games.
While Bhat and Gautam went down 19-21 12-21 to Anna Ching Yik Cheong and Teoh Mei Xing of Malaysia, Singhi and Thaker lost 15-21 11-21 to seventh seeded Malaysian pair of Pearly Tan and Muralitharan Thinaah. (PTI)