Sindhu, Nehwal through to 2019 French Open quarter-finals

Both of India’s Olympic medallists won in straight games to continue their march in the competition. 

By Saurabh Shankar ·

After Wednesday’s disappointment, it was a good day for India’s shuttlers at the 2019 French Open Super 750, as both PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal bagged comfortable wins to advance to the quarter-finals of the competition.

India’s top-ranked men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, on the other hand, survived a scare against the Indonesian pair of Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan to win 21-18, 18-21, 21-13 and continue their march in the competition.

Comfortable win for Sindhu

India’s top-ranked female shuttler Sindhu barely broke a sweat in her game against Singapore’s Yeo Jia Min, as she won 21-10, 21-13 to advance to the quarter-finals.

The reigning world champion’s lofted serves forced her opponent to hit the shuttle out of bounds, thus mistiming her smashes and allowing Sindhu to race away to a 6-0 lead. Following that early barrage, her opponent could not get a foothold in the game, never scoring more than two consecutive points.

PV Sindhu needed just 34 minutes to win her second round match at the French Open

Sindhu used her height advantage to the fullest, reaching most parts of her half without having to move around a lot, while making her diminutive opponent run rings around the court. The Indian’s superior experience showed as she mixed her game with smashes and sliced shots to always keep the 20-year-old guessing.

Sindhu took a 11-4 advantage into the interval in her first game, and kept that momentum going as she clinched the game 21-10.

In the second game, Sindhu continued to make the most of her serve as she claimed a 6-0 advantage again. The Indian led 11-5 at the interval stage, where she slightly stepped her foot off the pedal, allowing her opponent to pick three consecutive points to bridge the gap.

However, Sindhu soon regained her mojo as she connected with a couple of smashes to once again gain the ascendency. The Singaporean put on more of a fight in the second game, breaking the Indian’s serve from time to time but ultimately it was in vain, as Sindhu claimed it 21-13.

The third-ranked shuttler now faces either Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying or South Korea’s Kim Ga Eun in the next round.

Nehwal cruises through

London 2012 Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal needed just 27 minutes to get past Danish shuttler Line Højmark Kjærsfeldt in the second round of the French Open. The Indian looked sharp right from the beginning, getting into a 4-1 lead.

Kjærsfeldt tried to claw her way back into the game by picking the next two points in the match, but Nehwal once again showed her superiority as she picked five points on the trot to get to a 10-3 advantage.

The 29-year-old never let her opponent settle into her serve, not once allowing her more than two consecutive points throughout the first game. Nehwal connected with most of her smashes and drop shots, eventually winning the first game 21-10.

The second game was much more evenly contested with the score reading 8-6 in favour of the Indian. After that close start though, Nehwal began to pull away from her opponent as she picked seven of the next eight points to get a 15-7 lead. From there on, it was just a matter of time before the ninth-ranked women’s singles player clinched a straight games win with a score of 21-10, 21-11.

She will now face South Korea’s An Se Young, who rose to prominence after beating PV Sindhu at the 2019 Denmark Open.