TOKYO, July 25: Reigning world champion PV Sindhu made a dominating start to her Olympic campaign, thrashing Israel’s Ksenia Polikarpova in straight games in the women’s singles group J match here on Sunday.
The 26-year-old Indian, seeded sixth, beat the 58th ranked Polikarpova 21-7 21-10 in a lop-sided opening match.
“Even though it was an easy first match I didn’t take it in an easy way. It wasn’t like I wasn’t prepared. Every time, it is very important to be focused and be prepared for every single point in every single match,” Sindhu said after the match.
“It was quite an easy match but I made sure that we had some rallies and I got used to the court.”
The world number seven Indian will next play Hong Kong’s world number 34 Cheung Ngan Yi in the group stage.
Rio Games silver medallist Sindhu started on an attacking note but briefly found herself trailing 3-4. However, she moved ahead quickly with Polikarpova making unforced errors. Sindhu entered the break with 11-5 lead.
Soon, Sindhu was on a roll, grabbing 13 straight points. The Indian used her trademark straight and cross court smashes and drops to trouble the Israeli, who couldn’t utilise the few opportunities that came her way.
Sindhu sealed the first game in her favour when Polikarpova missed a shot.
Polikarpova, who was playing with a strapped knee, continued to struggle with her strokes as Sindhu opened up a 9-3 lead in the second game and then entered the mid-interval with a massive seven-point advantage.
It was business as well after the break, with Sindhu riding on the errors of her opponent.
Another wide shot from Polikarpova gave Sindhu 13 match points. The Indian squandered three of them before Polikarpova once again sent the shuttle out to end the match.
On her approach to playing a lower-ranked opponent, Sindhu said: “I think it’s important to make sure that you play all of your strokes and get used to them.
“All of a sudden if you’re playing with a higher-ranked player or a stronger opponent, it’s not that you can just play that type of strokes, it’s important to get used to the situations also.”
On Saturday, the Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty shocked the world number duo of Yang Lee and Chi-Lin Wang of Chinese Taipei in a thrilling group A match.
However, B Sai Praneeth jeopardised chances of his qualification to the knockout stage after going down to world number 47, Misha Zilberman of Israel, in a men’s singles group D match. (PTI)