The top-ranked Indian shuttler could face familiar foe Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the next round.
Indian badminton star PV Sindhu advanced into the quarter-finals of the All England Open with a straight-games 21-19, 21-15 victory over South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun on Thursday at the Birmingham Arena.
India’s campaign in the men’s singles event, however, came to an end after Lakshya Sen went down 17-21, 18-21 to Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in the second round.
Sung Ji Hyun has always been a tricky opponent to beat for PV Sindhu, who came into the match with a head-to-head record of 8-8 with her South Korean counterpart.
PV Sindhu was expecting a tough fight and she got the same after some initial phase of comfort, where the top-ranked Indian badminton player racked up quick points to lead 11-7 at the break.
Sung Ji Hyun soon came back to level scores at 13-13 before the topsy-turvy game saw the shuttlers overtaking each other until 19-19, following which PV Sindhu won two consecutive points to win the first game 21-19.
While the second game wasn’t any less competitive, the South Korean mellowed down after PV Sindhu led at the break. Sung Ji Hyun kept her intensity high in the early few points until 7-7 following which the Indian broke away to lead 11-8 at the break.
Though Hyun had managed to reduce the gap to 14-16 at one point, PV Sindhu looked the favourite to go through and she eventually won five of the next six points to seal the match 21-19, 21-15.
PV Sindhu will next be facing the winner of the match between Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara and Denmark’s Line Højmark Kjaersfeldt in the quarter-final.
Going up against second-seeded Viktor Axelsen, who is 22 places above him in BWF world rankings, young Lakshya Sen was always going to struggle. But the Indian badminton player went toe to toe for the most part of the match before eventually losing 17-21, 18-21.
Lakshya Sen played at a higher intensity in the first game until 8-9 after which the Denmark shuttler won two points on the trot to lead 11-8 at the break.
Though the 18-year-old Indian pulled the game back at 13-13 following the break, Axelsen was quick to open a significant gap by winning three consecutive points. He eventually won the game 21-17.
Lakshya Sen was the only remaining Indian men’s singles player in All England Open and he played like the last man standing in the second game.
The 2016 Olympic bronze medalist from Denmark wasn’t allowed a free run as Lakshya Sen trailed by just one point at the break. The Indian youngster stayed in the competition until 15-15 following which Axelsen won four points on the trot to lead 19-15.
Overcoming the deficit late into the match was going to be difficult and although Lakshya Sen won three of the next five points, Viktor Axelsen eventually sealed the match 21-17, 21-18.
The All England Open 2020 will be telecast on Star Sports 2 HD and will be live-streamed on Hotstar as well.