Badminton

Badminton Asia Championships: PV Sindhu Wins; Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth Go Down In Opening Round

It was, however, a difficult day for Olympic-bound Sen, who lost 19-21 15-21 to local favourite and top seed Shi Yu Qi, and Srikanth, who suffered a 14-21 13-21 loss against Indonesia's Anthony Ginting in the opening round

pv sindhu 2 X Pvsindhu
PV Sindhu managed a gritty 18-21 21-14 21-19 win against world number 33 Goh Jin Wei from Malaysia. Photo: X/ @Pvsindhu1
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Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu survived some tense moments before progressing to the women's singles second round but it was curtains for Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth in men's singles at the Badminton Asia Championships in Ningbo on Wednesday. (More Badminton News)

Sindhu, who is desperately seeking to rediscover her form ahead of the Paris Olympics, almost blew away a five-point advantage in the decider before managing a gritty 18-21 21-14 21-19 win against world number 33 Goh Jin Wei from Malaysia.

Sindhu had lost to her Malaysian opponent the last time they met in the Sudirman Cup though the Indian has a 4-1 record against her.

Next up for Sindhu is China's Han Yue, against whom the Indian has a flawless 5-0 record.

It was, however, a difficult day for Olympic-bound Sen, who lost 19-21 15-21 to local favourite and top seed Shi Yu Qi, and Srikanth, who suffered a 14-21 13-21 loss against Indonesia's Anthony Ginting in the opening round.

Talented Priyanshu Rajawat also crashed out in the men's singles opening round.

Rajawat was no match for eight-seeded Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia, losing 9-21 13-21 in 39 minutes.

It was also curtains for the Panda sisters -- Rutuparna and Swetaparna -- in the opening round of women's doubles, losing 8-21 13-21 against seventh seeds Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu W of China.

MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila too were left heartbroken after losing 21-23 21-19 24-26 against the seventh-seeded Chinese pair of Liu Yu Chen and Ou Xuan Yi.

Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand too went down 2-21 11-21 to fourth-seeded Liu Sheng Shu and Tan Ning in the women's double opener to dash their faint Paris Olympics qualification hopes.

Malvika Bansod and Aakarshi Kashyap too faltered in the opening hurdle, losing to Korea's Sim Yu Jin and Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan respectively.

Sindhu vs Jin Wei

The continental championship provides a chance for Sindhu, who is on a comeback trail after recovering from an injury, to test her wares against some of the world's best shuttlers and the Indian dug deep after losing the opening game.

She fought back into the contest and kept herself afloat despite lagging from the start in the decider, before turning the tables to move to five match points.

But she seems to have suffered a meltdown, squandering four match points before her opponent found the net.

The two were neck-and-neck at the start before Sindhu committed three judgement errors at the backline and then sprayed one wide as Jin Wei took a slender 11-9 lead at the break.

Sindhu played some fine cross-court returns and also looked to add variation from the back but she committed too many unforced errors. A low return from the front court went wide to hand five game points to Jin Wei.

Sindhu sent one to the corner and unleashed an over-the-head drop to stay afloat before floating one out.

Sindhu made an attacking start after the change of sides, leading 4-1. But unforced errors again came back to haunt her as she hit long twice and found the net two times to allow Jin Wei to make it 5-5. The Indian, however, managed to take a two-point cushion at the interval with a smash.

The Indian faltered to reach the front court a few times as it was 13-13. But Sindhu soon came out with a flurry of smashes to grab six game points and sealed it with a forehand hand drive.

In the decider, Sindhu gave away a 1-5 lead at the start but she slowly started finding her mark again and moved to 5-7 with a superlative cross-court smash.

Jin tried to make Sindhu run to the forehand corner and then catch her at the net and it worked for some time before the Indian wriggled out with her attacking returns.

A net error from Sindhu gave a two-point cushion to the Malaysian at the interval but the Indian clawed back from 10-13 down with three points as Jin netted one and sent the shuttle wide next.

Then India took the lead when Jin Wei sent a cross-court return wide. Errors crept in the Malaysian's game as she found the net or sprayed wide, allowing Sindhu to move to 17-14.

A couple of brutal smashes put Sindhu just two points away as she soon pocketed five match points with another precise return at the back. Just then, Jin Wei found the line twice with her returns and Sindhu too sprayed into the net as four points evaporated.

But then Jin Wei sent her backhand drive to the net after another rally and Sindhu was relieved.

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