Reigning world champion PV Sindhu was made to work hard for her opening-round win but she powered through from a game down against Japan’s Aya Ohori at the Indonesia Open Super 1000 event in Bali on Wednesday.
Joining her in the second round are men’s singles shuttlers Srikanth Kidambi and B Sai Praneeth, after winning their respective opening round matches.
Third seed Sindhu fought hard against the world No 22 to win the match in 70 minutes by a scoreline of 21-17 17-21 17-21. It was Sindhu’s 11th win in 11 matches against the 25-year-old left-handed shuttler from Japan but she was pushed all the way on the day.
Sindhu will now take on world No 26 Yvonne Li from Germany in the second round.
The Indian has already qualified provisionally for the upcoming BWF World Tour Finals but will look to put together another good week in Bali ahead of the season-ending event that precedes the postponed World Championships later next month.
Sindhu started slowly against an opponent she has had great success against in the past. While Ohori was playing at an excellent tempo, most of Sindhu’s problems were self-made as she gave easy points to her opponent with smashes landing in the middle of the net and lifts sailing long.
After dropping the opening game and trailing 0-4 in the second, Sindhu picked up her level and went on an all-out attack to put Ohori under pressure. While the Japanese shuttler kept fighting back, Sindhu’s class started to shine through and she took the second game. At one point, she went from 7-10 to 14-10.
The third game saw Sindhu open a comfortable 11-6 lead at the change of ends but Ohori kept clawing her way back into the match despite the Indian’s attempts to assert her dominance. While it was 15-15 at one stage, Sindhu found another gear at the end to push through and win a bruising battle. She let out a cry of relief and anger at the end to mark the end of a testing match.
Srikanth Kidambi and B Sai Praneeth also began their campaigns on Wednesday with wins. Former world No 1 Srikanth won a rematch of last week’s quarterfinal at Indonesia Masters against HS Prannoy. The all-Indian battle went the distance after Prannoy won the second game to force the decider. But Srikanth had a seemingly comfortable outing in the third game, eventually winning 21-15 19-21 21-12 in 56 minutes. He will face second seed Viktor Axelsen in the next round.
For Sai Praneeth, the first game against France’s Toma Junior Popov was a tight one but the Basel worlds bronze medallist kept his nose ahead for most of the second as he won 21-19, 21-18. It has been a tough time on tour for Sai starting from the Olympics, and wins have not come easy, so to beat the spirited world No 33 from France is a solid result. By a quirk of fate, he will face Toma Junior’s younger brother Christo Popov next, who stunned Anthony Ginting in the opening round.
In women’s doubles, India’s Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost in straight games after an epic battle that went the way of sisters Gabriela Stoeva and Stephanie Stoeva. The Bulgarian pair won 29-27, 21-18. Ashwini and Sikki had five game point opportunities in the marathon opening game.
Later on, Ashwini Ponnappa and B Sumeeth Reddy lost 24-22, 12-21, 19-21 to Japan’s Nami Matsuyama and Takuro Hoki in 58 minutes in their mixed doubles round of 32 match.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty have received a first round walkover. On opening day, there was no win in four matches for the Indian contingent but Lakshya Sen put up a fighting display against world No 1 Kento Momota.
A look at the Indian matches for Thursday:
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