If you are the seventh seed in the main draw of 32 players with eight seeded players from the world’s top eight, facing the World No 9 is the worst possible way to start the tournament on paper. And PV Sindhu’s (lack of) luck of the draw, combined with another error-prone performance meant she bowed out in straight games against China’s He Bingjiao in Jakarta in round of 32 of the Indonesia Open Super 1000 event.

The Indonesia Open is the second of the three Super 1000 events of the year on the BWF World Tour, after the All-England.

It was a tough start for the Indian shuttlers on the opening day of the prestigious tournament that is back at the Istora Senayan for the first time since July 2019. The first opening-round win for Indians on Tuesday came from Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy. They reached the women’s doubles round of 16 defeating the pair of Srivedya Gurazad (India) and Ishika Jaiswal (USA) 21-15, 21-8.

Sameer Verma helped add a better touch to the results on the opening day as he progressed to the round of 16 with a 21-19, 21-15 win over Thomas Rouxel of France in 45 minutes.

Despite the tough opening round on paper in Jakarta, Sindhu had done well against He in recent times. However, it wasn’t to be on Tuesday. The Chinese player was in control from the word go, and in both games Sindhu paid the price for conceding significant early leads. Post the interval, the Indian played better in both games, but the damage was done early on and she could never put He under scoreboard pressure.

Also bowing out in the opening round was Basel World Championships bronze medallist B Sai Praneeth. The Indian, who has been in a prolonged phase of bad form, lost against Danish veteran HK Vittinghus 16-21, 19-21 in 45 minutes.

Before the match, Sindhu trailed 8-9 in the Head-to-Head but had won the last three meetings against her Chinese rival, including the bronze medal playoff at Tokyo Olympics. But He was in control right from the start, with Sindhu unable to find any scoring rhythm. In the early stages, the Indian’s performance was reminiscent of the one against Ratchanok Intanon in the Indonesia Masters quarterfinals last week where Sindhu was blown away by the Thai star.

But the former world champion grew into the game and started moving He around on the court with better tempo and pace to her shots. What eventually proved to be her undoing were the errors from both sides of the court. The second game too followed a largely similar pattern, even if there were much better rallies in terms of shot quality in the early stages. Sindhu was left with too much to do in the end despite rallying in the latter part, saving match points, but eventually bowing out as He let out a huge roar to end a run of defeats.

Tanisha Crasto-Ishaan Bhatnagar also lost in straight games against Hong Kong’s Chang Tak Ching and Ng Wing Yung. The Indian youngsters were the sole representatives for the country in mixed doubles and their challenge didn’t last long as they lost 14-21, 11-21.

Manu Attri-B Sumeeth Reddy were defeated in straight games by reigning world champions Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi.

First-round action will continue on Wednesday.

Read more in our tournament preview here.

Courtesy: Tournament Software