Two-time silver medallist PV Sindhu produced yet another commanding performance as she demolished Beiwen Zhang of United States in straight games to advance to the quarterfinals of the BWF World Championships in Basel on Thursday (August 22). Meanwhile Saina Nehwal faced an exit at the hands of Denmark's Mia Blitchfeldt. (BADMINTON NEWS)
Sindhu won 21-14, 21-6 in the women's singles pre-quarterfinals match that lasted just 34 minutes. The fifth seeded Indian had lost to the ninth seeded American opponent in the Indian Open final last year.
Sindhu now face second seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals.
The Indian completely dominated the match, giving no chance to her American opponent. They were levelled 5-5 but from there, Sindhu led all the way to pocket the first game.
The second game was even better for Sindhu as she led all the way from 1-1, taking five straight points to 6-1 and then another six points on the trot to reach 14-5 before wrapping up the match.
In another game, Nehwal lost to Blitchfeldt. The world number eight Nehwal won the first game with a margin of six points. Despite having a lead of 9-12 in the second game at the point, she lost in it. The second game was extremely long as both the players shared 52 points with each other.
In the third game, the world number 12 Mia did not give any chance to Nehwal to come back as she clinched the game 21-12 to win the one hour and 12 minutes long encounter.
With this defeat, Nehwal ended her journey in the tournament while Mia will proceed to the quarterfinals.
In the men's singles, B Sai Praneeth dished out a superlative performance to stun World No. 8 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and progress to the quarterfinals but K Srikanth and HS Prannoy suffered defeats to bow out of the showpiece event.
Seeded seventh, Srikanth lost 14-21, 13-21 against Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand in the pre-quarterfinal match that lasted 40 minutes while Prannoy's campaign ended with a loss at the hands of World No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan.
Prannoy showed glimpses of brilliance, especially in the opening game, but couldn't stop Momota from registering a 21-19, 21-12 win, his fifth victory over the Indian in as many encounters.
World No 19. Praneeth, who had reached the finals at Swiss Open this year, took just 42 minutes to dispatch sixth seeded Anthony of Indonesia 21-19, 21-13 to set up a likely clash with another Indonesian Jonatan Christie, seeded fourth and the reigning Asian Games champion.
In the opening game, Praneeth quickly erased a 0-3 deficit to move to a 8-5 deficit. The Indian, who has had success against Anthony at the 2018 Asia Team championship and 2017 World Championship, kept his strangehold to enter the break with a 11-8 advantage.
After the interval, Anthony managed to turn the tables at 14-12 and also threatened to undo the good work of the Indian but Praneeth got his bearings in time to pocket the opening game with three straight points from 18-19.
In the second game, Praneeth zoomed to 6-2 but Anthony made his way to manage a 11-8 lead at the breather. After the break, the Indian reeled off six straight points to make it 14-12. He kept marching ahead as Anthony crumbled.
Earlier, Momota dominated the proceedings initially against Prannoy as he moved from a 8-4 lead to grab a 11-7 advantage at the break.
Prannoy started putting pressure on his rival after the breather with an attacking game to claw back at 12-12 and kept snapping at Momota's heels.
At one stage, after the end of the 57-shot rally, an exhausted Prannoy was left prostrated on the floor following a perfect net return from the World No. 1. The point gave Momota a two-point cushio at 19-17.
But the Indian stuck to his guns and a precise straight smash helped him to level at 19-19.
Momota, however, upped the pace to grab the game point with a return on the backline and then sealed it with a powerful smash.
After the change of sides, Momota once again found his way out of tricky situations to run up a lead of 11-5 at the break. Prannoy tried his best but Momota ensured he had the last laugh as he converted soon after gaining nine match points.
(PTI and ANI Inputs)