Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist PV Sindhu lost in straight games against fifth seed An Seyoung of Korea at the quarterfinals of Denmark Open Super 1000 event in Odense on Friday.
An, one of the rising stars in the badminton world, proved to be too strong for the Indian who is just returning to action after her efforts in Tokyo and notched up a comfortable 21-11, 21-12 in 36 minutes.
This was the 19-year-old’s second win over Sindhu in two meetings. Sindhu had also lost to An in straight games the last time they clashed in Odense two years ago in their only previous career meeting.
Later on, Sameer Verma retired hurt in his last eight match. On Thursday, he had produced a stunning performance to defeat third seed and local favourite Anders Antonsen. The 27-year-old from Madhya Pradesh, on his birthday, was up against 33-year-old Tommy Sugiarto and started well. But the Indonesian veteran bounced back from 0-4 down to stay ahead for the remainder of the game to take a 21-17 lead. While Sugiarto needed a couple of medical interventions, it was Sameer who retired at the end of the first game.
Earlier in women’s singles, the Korean was always a step ahead during the contest and exposed Sindhu’s rustiness. The teenager has made a name for herself with her defensive abilities, but showed that she is developing into a fine allrounder with her attacking game as well. Recently, she had stunned Akane Yamaguchi 21-14, 21-7 in the Uber Cup semifinals.
Sindhu, the reigning world champion who had taken a break to rejuvenate after a hectic Olympics campaign, struggled to keep up with the tempo. An made a superb start and took just six minutes to grab a massive seven-point lead at the break with Sindhu unable to find a crack in the Korean’s game.
The Indian tried to control the net but committed a few unforced errors with the Korean showing great athleticism to return everything thrown at her.
An dominated the forecourt and played some exceptional shots, including a few diving forehand returns, to lead 16-8. At one point in the opening game, Sindhu played the shot of the match at the net but a diving An still retrieved it and the Indian ended up sending the shuttle long in an attempt to kill the point. In the end, Sindhu netted to give 10 game points to the Korean, who sealed the opening game when the Indian erred again.
Sindhu tried to change her tactics by playing high lifts but the errors were not getting contained and after trailing 7-8 at one stage, she slipped to 8-11 at the break. It was one-way traffic after the interval as An jumped to 20-10 in a jiffy. Sindhu saved two match points before committing another error to give An the win.
On Thursday night, Sameer notched up a stunning straight-game win over Antonsen to storm into the quarterfinals but it was curtains for Lakshya Sen at the Super 1000 tournament.
World No 28 Sameer, who had qualified for the World Tour Finals in 2018 after winning three titles, produced a sensational performance to outwit local hero Antonsen 21-14 21-18 in a 50-minute men’s singles battle.
However, it proved to be too daunting a task for Lakhsya to match Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen as he thrashed the Indian 21-15 21-7 in a lop-sided second-round contest.
With PTI inputs