Sindhu proves too good for former Olympic champ Li Xuerui
Newly crowned World champion PV Sindhu maintained her brilliant form by claiming an easy win in the first round of the China Open Super 1000 Series in Changzhou.
It took 34 minutes for Sindhu to register a 21-18, 21-12 victory over former Olympic gold medallist Li Xuerui of China.
However, former World No.1 Saina Nehwal bowed out of the competition, as she suffered a first round loss to Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
Seeded fifth, Sindhu got off to a quick start but four back-to-back points brought the Chinese back at level terms at 8-8.
The Rio 2016 silver medallist though began to find gaps in her opponent's defence and and went ahead as the game approached its mid-break.
From there on, Sindhu was rarely troubled, taking the first game by a comfortable 21-18 margin.
But the Indian found herself on the back foot at the start of the second game, as Li opened up a four-point lead early on.
Sindhu though quickly got back on track: restoring parity at 7-7 before surging on ahead.
The world champion accelerated from there, sealing the second game 21-12 with a perfect overhead smash.
Nehwal, meanwhile, seemed out of sorts as she fell to a 10-21, 17-21 defeat against Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
Despite a competitive start to the game, which at one point saw the shuttlers battling at 5-5, Ongbamrungphan raced towards a comfortable 11-6 lead by the mid-game interval.
Though Nehwal tried to cut the margin, the closest she came since the break was 16-10. Her Thai opponent did not allow her another point in the game.
The second game too started on a high, but Ongbamrungphan once again picked the pace to complete an easy victory - her second successive triumph over Nehwal.
The Olympic bronze medallist has struggled for form this season after being affected by a series of illness and injury.
Meanwhile, B Sai Praneeth too won his match 21-19, 21-23, 21-14 against Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihingsanon to make it to the pre-quarterfinals of the men’s singles event.
India’s mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy bowed out of the tournament after suffering a 12-21 21-23 defeat to Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich.