Singapore Open: PV Sindhu, HS Prannoy Enter 2nd Round, Lakshya Sen Crashes Out

Star shuttlers PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy progressed to the second round but Lakshya Sen went down fighting to world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen at the Singapore Open Super 750 Badminton Tournament here on Wednesday. Sindhu had last won a BWF title at Singapore two years back and she entered the tournament after signing off with a runner-up finish at Thailand Open last week. Up against world no. 21 Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt of Denmark, the Indian registered a 21-12 22-20 win in a 44-minute opening round encounter to set up a mouth-watering battle against Rio Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain.

World No. 3 Marin has an overwhelming 11-5 record against the Indian. The last time the two clashed, it turned out to be an ill-tempered match at Denmark Open which saw both players receiving yellow cards for verbal exchanges.

World No. 10 Prannoy then quelled a spirited challenge from Julien Carraggi, ranked 45, of Belgium 21-9 18-21 21-9 to set up a meeting with Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto next.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand notched up a 21-7 21-14 win over Cheng Yu-Pei and Sun Yu Hsing of Chinese Taipei to make a good start in women’s doubles.

However world No. 14 Lakshya, who will be making his Olympic debut at the Paris Games, fought hard but went out of steam after the change of ends in the decider to go down 13-21 21-16 13-21 in 62 minutes against Axelsen, who won his first title of the season at Thailand Open last week.

Kidambi Srikanth’s opening round match ended in agony as he retired due to a knee injury after lagging 14-21 3-11 against Japan’s fifth seed Kodai Naraoka.

In other results, Olympic-bound women’s combination of Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Ponnappa lost 21-18 19-21 19-21 to Ukraine’s Polina Buhrova and Yevheniia Kantemyr, while men’s pair of Krishna Prasad Garage and Sai Pratheek K suffered a 16-21 22-24 loss to second seeded Chinese Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang.

B Sumeeth Reddy and N Sikki Reddy lost 18-21 19-21 to Malaysia’s Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie in mixed doubles, while Venkat Gaurav Prasad and Juhi Dewangan lost 8-21 8-21 against Mads Vestergaard and Christine Busch in another match.

Sindhu vs Line

Sindhu held a 3-0 head-to-head count against Line but things started on an even note as the two were tied 8-8 at one stage before the Indian grabbed a two-point advantage at the break with a fine drop shot.

The Indian moved to 16-11 with some quick points as Line made too many unforced errors during the testing rallies. Sindhu soon held eight game points and converted it with a straight return.

After the change of sides, Sindhu continued the momentum to open up a 5-1 lead before taking an 11-7 cushion at the interval, with Line finding the net.

However, the Dane slowly clawed back at 14-14 and stood four points away from taking the match to the decider, but Sindhu stepped up the pace in time to dash her hopes as she reeled off six straight points to seal the win.

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