Friday , 20 April 2018
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All England Open: Srikanth, Sindhu enter second round

NEW DELHI: Indian shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu advanced into the second round while Saina Nehwal and Sai Praneeth made first-round exits at the All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham on Wednesday.

Srikanth registered a hard-fought victory over Brice Leverdez of France in the opening round whereas Sindhu, TOISA 2018 Badminton player of the Year, also had to sweat hard to eke out 20-22, 21-17, 21-9 win over Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong. Saina suffered a straight-game defeat against World No. 1 and defending champion Tai Tzu-Ying.

Sindhu blew 11-4 advantage in the opening game as Pornpawee fought back to catch up with the Indian at 14-14. She went to the 20-18 game point advantage before Sindhu clawed back but in the end it was the Thai player who pocketed the game.

Jolted by the reversal, Sindhu surged to a 14-6 and 15-7 lead in the next two games and didn’t lose control despite some spirited fight by Pornpawee. The world number four Sindhu will face Thailand’s Nitchaon Jindapol, who defeated USA’s Beiwen Zhang 21-18, 21-14, in the second round.

Praneeth surprised Son Wan Ho by clinching the first game 21-13 but the fifth seed Korean staved off challenge posed by the Indian player with ease and won the next two games 21-15, 21-11 to make into the second round.

TOISA 2018 Sportsperson of the Year Srikanth had endured a tough first round outing against Leverdez before emerging victorious 7-21, 21-14, 22-20 in the match that lasted almost an hour.

The third seed Srikanth, who won four Super Series titles, was taken aback by the Frenchman in the first game. Srikanth began with the numerous errors that handed Leverdez a 5-0 lead in the first game. The Indian failed to find his rhythm and went to the break trailing 5-11. Leverdez continued where he left after the interval and wrapped the game 21-7.

Srikanth changed the gears in the second game and headed into the break with 11-5 lead. He carried on with his good work and forced the match into the decider by winning the second game 21-14.

Srikanth started off the last game in the same manner leading 11-6 at the break. But the game after the interval saw a gruelling battle as Srikanth and Leverdez kept exchanging points one after the another. The World number three Srikanth used all his experience and held his nerve to carve out a fighting win against Leverdez.

Earlier, Saina lost the contest in straight games 14-21, 18-21 in 38 minutes to the defending champion.

Facing the top-ranked player in the lung opener was always going to be a tough one and Saina started on the back foot to trail 4-9 early in the first game. Saina fought back brilliantly to level it at 10-10, before going to mid-game break 10-11.

The match went on with service exchanging for every point till 14-14, before Tai broke through by winning seven consecutive points to wrap the opening game 21-14 in 16 minutes.

Saina started the second game on a positive note and led the proceedings from the beginning. She went into the break with three-point advantage at 11-8. Saina then extended the lead to 16-11, but Tai soon made it 15-16 through four consecutive points. After that Saina lost the lead at 17-18, for the first time in the game, and Tai made sure that it did not slip away as she won the second game 21-18.

In women’s doubles, India’s Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha Ram lost 14-21, 11-21 to fifth seed Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto of Japan in their opening round match.
India suffered another defeat in women’s doubles as Ashwini Ponappa and Sikki Reddy went down 14-21, 13-21 against second seed Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi of Japan in the first round.
Indian men’s doubles duo of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy bowed out of the tournament after losing 20-22, 12-21 to Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge of England in the first round.
Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy registered the straight games 21-19, 21-13 victory over Marvin Emil Seidel and Linda Efler of Germany in the mixed doubles first round.
Source : timesofindia

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