PV Sindhu advanced into the second round of the All England Open with a straight-game 21-14, 21-17 win over Beiwen Zhang of the USA at the Birmingham Arena, on Wednesday.
Strong second-round comeback propels PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu came into the match leading her American counterpart 5-4 in the head-to-head. The last time the two met was at the 2019 Korea Open where the Indian badminton player was at the receiving end of a tough defeat.
But, Wednesday saw the Indian world no. 6 defeating Beiwen Zhang 21-14, 21-17 in straight games in a match that lasted 42 minutes.
After both the shuttlers kicked off on a competitive note with each overtaking the other until 9-9, PV Sindhu won two points on the trot to lead 11-9 at the break.
Following the break, Beiwen Zhang kept the match competitive till 14-17 following which PV Sindhu won four points on the trot to seal the first game 21-14.
The American shuttler had everything to fight for in the second game and she started strongly as well, leading 11-9 at the break. There was even a point when Zhang led 15-11 after the break with the match seemingly heading for a decider before PV Sindhu stepped up.
The top-ranked Indian badminton player won four points on the trot yet again, to level the second game at 15-15 before eventually sealing the match 21-14, 21-17.
Kidambi Srikanth ousted in a gruelling encounter
Kidambi Srikanth had a comparatively steeper task against Chinese world no. 5 Chen Long, who was coming to the clash with a supreme 6-2 head-to-head record against the Indian badminton star.
Chen Long further extended the record on Wednesday with a straight-game 21-15, 21-16 win in a match that lasted 43 minutes.
The Chinese shuttler started the first game strongly leading 7-2 within minutes before Kidambi Srikanth reduced the deficit significantly to make it 7-6. However, Chen Long won five of next four points to lead 11-7 at the break and put the pressure back on Kidambi Srikanth.
Following the break, the closest Kidambi Srikanth could come in the game was 12-12 following which Chen Long quickly opened a four-point gap at 16-12 before running away with the game 21-15.
While the second game demanded Kidambi Srikanth to pull up his socks he further mellowed down, allowing Chen Long to lead 11-4 at the break. And though the Indian badminton player reduced the deficit to 19-15 following the break, Chen Long eventually won the match 21-15, 21-16.
India’s first defeat of the day, however, came in the mixed doubles event where the duo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy lost 13-21, 21-11, 17-21 to the Chinese pair of Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong.
Who will PV Sindhu play next at the All England Open
PV Sindhu will have a tricky opponent in South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun at the All England Open next, against whom the Indian shares a competitive 8-8 head to head record. World no. 12 Hyun comes to the second round after beating Thailand’s Nitchaon Jindapol.
Where you can watch All England Open 2020
The All England Open 2020 will be telecast on Star Sports 2 HD and will be live-streamed on Hotstar as well.