PV Sindhu dashed all hopes of a close match with a dominating straight games win over Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi in the opening round of the women’s singles event at the Korea Open Superseries badminton event on Wednesday. Sindhu, who was stretched the full distance by the same Hong Kong opponent less than three weeks ago at the World Championships in Glasgow, outclassed her rival 21-13, 21-8 in a mere 34 minutes.
Sindhu, looking fresh and confident after her fine silver medal-winning exploits in Glasgow, will now take on Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand in the second round, following which she could run into top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the quarter-finals. Jindapol beat Chiang Mei Hui of Hong Kong 21-6, 21-14 in the first round.
Meanwhile in the men’s singles event, Parupalli Kashyap had an easy outing against Hsu Jen Hao, winning 21-13, 21-16 in just 34 minutes, while compatriot Sameer Verma scalped eighth seed Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 21-12, 21-23, 21-9. However, Sourabh Verma lost his singles match to Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto 21-18, 13-21, 19-21.
In mixed doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa, who came through the qualifiers, were beaten by Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet in the first round of the main draw with a 21-18, 21-19 scoreline.
Satwiksairaj is being tried out with both K Maneesha, with whom he played the World Championship mixed doubles and with Ashwini, with whom he paired up at Sudirman Cup. After trouncing the German pairing of Peter Kaesbauer and Olga Konon 21-12, 21-15, they beat Indonesia’s Ronald Ronald and Annisa Saufika 27-25, 21-17. However, they stumbled against the Hong Kong pair.
Kashyap, who made it to the Olympic quarter-finals in London 2012 and is only the third Indian male shuttler after Prakash Padukone (in 1978) and Syed Modi (in 1982) to win the Commonwealth Games singles gold, went past his third successive opponent from Chinese Taipei, having strolled past Lin Yu Hsien 21-19, 21-9 in 35 minutes and Kan Chao Yu 21-19, 21-18 earlier.
Since his gold medal at 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Kashyap has been through a knee injury that put him out of the Rio Olympics. But now Kashyap, showing he still has a fire burning inside him, has been slowly coming back to form. He reached the final of the US Open, where he lost to compatriot HS Prannoy.
Against Hsu, who is ranked 28th in the world, Kashyap showed that rankings don’t matter as he never allowed the former to get into the match. Kashyap, who is now 46th in world rankings as he makes his comeback, was comfortably ahead in both games, though Hsu did show some fight in the second game.
On Tuesday, Kashyap had joined Prannoy, Sai Praneeth, Sameer and Sourabh in the 32-man main draw by beating two Chinese Taipei players.
Sameer scalped the eighth seeded Tanongsak, who is also way higher at No 13 to the Indian’s 26th place in world rankings.
In the first game, the two players were neck and neck till midway, before Sameer pulled ahead from 10-9 to 15-9 and then closed out the game 21-13. In the second, Sameer saved two game points at 19-20 and 20-21 before succumbing on the third. But in the third, the Thai was simply outclassed 21-9.
Prannoy and Sai Praneeth will be in action later on Wednesday in their men’s singles clashes.
With mixed doubles matches starting off in the main draw, Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy lost for the second time in two weeks to Indonesians Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto in the main draw of mixed doubles. The Indians lost 21-13, 19-21, 15-21 to the fourth seeds. Even at the Glasgow World Championships, the Indians won the first game, before losing the next two, as the World No 7 Indonesians took time to find their rhythm.
V Krishnaswamy tweets at @Swinging_Swamy.
Updated Date: Sep 14, 2017 13:56 PM