PV Sindhu held her guard to progress into the second round of the Indonesia Masters as India’s other contenders bowed out in the first round.
While Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu came from a game down to win against Aya Ohori of Japan 14-21, 21-15, 21-11, Saina Nehwal was downed by lower-ranked Japanese shuttler Sayaka Takahashi 21-19, 13-21, 5-21.
India’s top-ranked men’s singles star, B Sai Praneeth was also shown the door by China’s Shi Yu Qi, who won it 16-21, 21-18, 21-10.
PV Sindhu recovers after tough start
Having faced Aya Ohori on nine occasions prior to the 2020 Indonesia Masters and winning all of them, PV Sindhu was a huge favourite going into the match. However, the Japanese made things interesting for the top-ranked Indian female shuttler by winning the first game 21-14.
With most of her compatriots seeing the exit door in the opening round, Sindhu kept her calm to take it one point at a time. However, Ohori didn’t let PV Sindhu have it any easier as after trailing 8-11 at the break, she came back to level proceedings at 12-12. But PV Sindhu didn’t allow her to win more than three points from that point and won the game 21-15.
By the third game, Aya Ohori was out of steam as she allowed PV Sindhu to win six consecutive points to lead 9-2 early in the decider. The 2016 Olympics bronze medallist didn’t let her opponent find a way back this time, winning the game by 10 points as the scorecard read 14-21, 21-15, 21-11.
The Indian will next be facing Sayaka Takahashi in the second round.
Saina Nehwal stunned by Takahashi
Saina Nehwal’s draw against Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi was regarded as a relatively easy draw by observers given her 4-2 head-to-head advantage that the Indian enjoyed before the match. And Saina Nehwal showed all her experience in the first game, winning it 21-19, even though the Japanese had reduced an early four-point deposit to narrow down the game at 20-19.
However, age was showing in the 29-year-old’s game as Takahashi decided to take it down to the wire. She bagged ten consecutive points to lead 11-2 at the break of the second game. Though Saina Nehwal did well to reduce the deficit 17-13 at one point, it was all she could get from the game.
If the second game was less competitive, the decider was a smooth run for Takahashi, who ran away with the match. After leading 11-4 at the break, she let Saina Nehwal take just one point in the remaining game as the Japanese won nine consecutive points to seal the match 19-21, 21-13, 21-5.
Yu Qi gets the better of Sai Praneeth
The match between B Sai Praneeth and Shi Yu Qi started on a competitive note with both the shuttlers going toe-to-toe with each other until the scoreline read 9-7 in the Chinese shuttler’s favour. Following this, the Indian broke away from the trend to win eight consecutive points to lead 15-10. Yu Qi couldn’t really recover from that and ended up losing the first game 16-21.
However, the eighth-seeded Chinese came back strongly in the next two games. Sai Praneeth looked to be in indomitable form in the second game and didn’t let Yu Qi go out of touching distance until 16-16, following which Yu Qi won four consecutive points to take the game away and eventually won it 21-18.
The Indian looked broken in the decider and after keeping up his intensity till 8-8, Yu Qi won points in straight bursts to seal the match. After he won four consecutive points to win 12-8, his second burst – comprising eight straight points – saw Yu Qi win the third game 21-10. The match was finished in 52 minutes.