The Indian contingent began their campaign at the 2019 French Open Super 750 event with PV Sindhu and Subhankar Dey recording contrasting wins at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin in Paris on Tuesday.
Rio 2016 Olympics silver medallist Sindhu made short work of Canada’s Michelle Li, registering a comfortable 21-15, 21-13 win, while Dey had to rally from a game down to beat Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia 15-21, 21-14, 21-17.
Up against World No. 8 Li, Sindhu was slow at the start as the Canadian gained the early momentum with a few speedy returns.
But the Indian, who won her first World Championships title in August, was quick to bounce back as she stretched her opponent to the limit with some top-quality returns to take an 11-8 lead at the mid-game interval.
Post the break, however, it was all Sindhu as the 24-year-old swiftly shifted gears to attack her opponent with purpose and pocketed as many as six points without any answer to take an 18-13 lead before wrapping up the game with a delightful cross-court finish on to Li’s backhand area.
Though down by a game, Li was in no mood to give up as she started brightly in the second to test and probe Sindhu’s backhand.
While a few shots to the net helped the Canadian earn some points, it wasn’t enough as Sindhu constantly stayed on her heels and even managed a slender 11-10 lead at the mid-game break.
But that was the best Li could produce, as Sindhu was once again at her menacing best romping home to a fine win without much fuss.
Sindhu will take on Singapore’s Yeo Jia Min in the second round on Thursday.
Dey digs deep
Subhankar Dey railed from a game down to beat World No. 17 Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia to advance into the second round of the competition in Paris.
Though the 26-year-old Indian struggled to get a hold of the tie in the opening game, he was soon in his element as the match progressed and registered a 15-21, 21-14, 21-17 win over his opponent.
Sugiarto was the first to get on top of the tie as the shuttlers were engaged in some quick-fire badminton with the rallies barely lasting beyond the fifth shot. The Indonesian was comfortable dictating with his incisive play while Dey struggled to get a hold of the pace with his returns letting him down in the opening game time and again.
However, after pocketing the first game, Sugiarto called for a medical time-out to treat what looked like an ankle injury. And though he returned to the court with protective strapping around his ankle region, the Indonesian lost his fluidity, something that eventually let him down in the following games.
Dey, however, was in no mood to show any mercy to his opponent as he made the most of Sugiarto’s injury to earn some valuable points.
The Indian mixed his shots well, pulled his opponent to the net cordon with his drop shots, only to push him back with some precise cross-court filings. And as if that wasn’t enough, Dey produced a handful of his powerful smashes to have Sugiarto firmly on the backfoot.
Though the Indonesian did his best to stay in the game, Dey barely took his foot off the pedal and closed out the game with another well-placed smash down Sugiarto’s forehand. The Indian will now take on Shesar Hiren Rhustavito of Indonesia in the next round.