PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth advance to second round at Toyota Thailand Open

Sindhu beat her opponent in straight games to win her first match since returning to competitive badminton. Srikanth was equally comfortable in his victory. 

By Rahul Venkat ·

Indian badminton star PV Sindhu progressed to the second round of the Toyota Thailand Open as she beat local girl Busanan Ongbamrungphan 21-17, 21-13 Tuesday morning.

This was PV Sindhu’s first win since the All England Open in March last year. She did return to competitive action at the Yonex Thailand Open last week but fell in the first round to Mia Blichfeldt.

It was expected to be another tough match for PV Sindhu against Ongbhamrungphan, who beat Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal at the Yonex Thailand Open.

It was a battle of similar styles as both Sindhu and Ongbhamrungphan prefer long serves and as expected, it was an even start with both players tied for points in the initial exchanges.

However, the Thai player mixed her smashes with some excellent drop shots to stretch PV Sindhu’s range and went into the mid-game break leading 11-9.

Ongbhamrungphan took a four-point lead soon after as her dipping forehand shots deceived Sindhu, with the Indian only winning a point when her opponent sent a return wide.

PV Sindhu then won back a couple of points with her trademark smashes and switched to a short backhand serve soon to be able to maintain her position mid-court.

The Indian badminton player soon showed why she is the reigning world champion as she displayed impeccable line judgment and used her long reach to recover every drop shot Ongbamrunghphan threw at her. PV Sindhu won four consecutive points to close out the first game.

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In the second game, PV Sindhu showed why she dominated the head-to-head record (10-1) against Ongbhamrungphan.

She attacked the Thai player relentlessly, peppering her with a barrage of snappy smashes to race into a 7-2 lead early on and walked into the mid-game break with a 11-5 cushion.

Sindhu was in an unrelenting mood post the break too, as she did not allow Ongbhamrungphan to settle into a rhythm and stretched her lead to 18-8.

The Indian also prevailed in the long rallies, with her shuttle control surprising Ongbhamrungphan on many occasions.

Though the Thai player won five consecutive points to come back at 19-13, PV Sindhu soon regained her composure to win the two points she needed to win the match and move into the second round.

"It was a good game and I'm very, very happy. This win was very important for me in this tournament because last week, I went out in the first round. So this win today was important, because even though in the first game it was tight, I didn't want to make it easy," Sindhu said after the match.

Srikanth, Satwik-Ashwini into second round

Former world no. 1 Kidambi Srikanth recovered from his calf muscle strain last week to record a comfortable 21-11, 21-11 win over Thai player Sitthikom Thammasin in the first round of the Thailand Open.

Srikanth, who had to pull out of the Yonex Thailand Open after having won his first match, moved well on the badminton court and looked in control for most of the clash as he dominated Thammasin with cross-court shots and smashes in the first game.

The second game followed much of the same script as Kidambi Srikanth raced into a 5-0 lead early on and led 11-2 at the mid-game break.

The Indian badminton ace only allowed Thammasin nine more points, most of it when the match looked out of reach of the Thai player, and wrapped up the win with a cross-court winner.

“I'm pleased with this win. I have been unable to practice for four days as I had a calf strain. I have been resting and icing the calf, plus I got some practice in yesterday, and I'm looking forward to the next round,” said Srikanth.

The mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa then made it three wins for Indian badminton to start off the day.

Satwik-Ashwini beat Denmark’s Niclas Nohr and Amalie Magelund 23-21, 21-18 to progress to the pre-quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, youngster Sourabh Verma was the first Indian badminton player to be eliminated in the opening round as he fell 21-16, 21-11 to Indonesian fifth-seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting.

For play-by-play highlights on the Indian contingent, visit our live blog of the Toyota Thailand Open.

Lead Photo: Badmintonphoto - Courtesy of BWF