China Open 2018: PV Sindhu powers past Japan's Saena Kawakami in straight games to enter pre-quarter-finals
Olympic and World Championship silver-medallist PV Sindhu on Tuesday progressed to the pre-quarterfinals of the USD one million China Open World Tour Super 1000 tournament.
Changzhou: Olympic and World Championship silver-medallist PV Sindhu on Tuesday progressed to the pre-quarterfinals of the USD one million China Open World Tour Super 1000 tournament.
The third-seeded Indian defeated World No 39 Saena Kawakami of Japan 21-15, 21-13 in the opening round at the Olympic Sports Center Xincheng Gymnasium.
The match started out as a close contest with Sindhu and Saena before the Indian broke off to grab a 13-7 lead at one stage. She kept dominating the rallies and pocketed the opening game without much trouble.
In the second game, Sindhu zoomed to a 6-0 lead but Saena managed to make it 8-10 before the Indian entered the interval with a slender 11-9 lead.
After the break, Sindhu jumped to 15-11 before grabbing eight match points at 20-12 and sealed it comfortably.
The soft-spoken Indian ace was not known for her aggression till five years back and it was chief national coach Pullela Gopichand, who had transformed her into an aggressive player ahead of the Rio Games.
The world number seven Indian will next play Hong Kong's world number 34 Cheung Ngan Yi in the group stage.
Sindhu is one of the favourites for the gold, especially in the absence of defending champion Carolina Marin, who missed the Games due to an injury.